The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a buzz word ever since it first entered the Gartner “Hype Cycle” in 2011. By the time it first peaked in 2014 experts were predicting 50 billion connected devices by 2020, with investment topping $20 trillion. People thought everything from lamp posts to clothing to our bodies would be connected.
But whenever there is hype people tend to jump in feet first, instead of first dipping their toe in to test the temperature. It’s no different with IoT – five years on from it first peaking in the Hype Cycle the smoke has cleared and a different picture has emerged. The expected number of connected devices is now closer to 20 billion, with investment likely to be in the billions, rather than trillions.
So, what changed?
The US-based research and advisory firm Gartner first published its annual Hype Cycle in 1995. According to Gartner, new technology goes through five cycles: Innovation Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment, and Plateau of Productivity.
When IoT made its 2011 debut in the Hype Cycle it was part of the Innovation Trigger, before moving into the Peak of Inflated Expectations in 2014. Two years later, Gartner created a separate Hype Cycle for IoT, a move many speculated was based on the idea that while some IoT uses were maturing, others still had a way to go – and a separate hype cycle would better reflect the fragmentation.
When it comes to B2B, it’s clear that IoT is maturing. Streamlined processes, cost savings, possible new revenue streams – these are all proven benefits. Many companies see it as an essential part of their business strategy, but instead of going full steam ahead, their IoT solutions are based on a business case and they often started with a pilot, rather than with full implementation right away.