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The Jim Pinto Column: Mobile devices overtake PCs and more big ­companies join the IoT bandwagon

April 2014 News

Mobile devices overtake PCs

Benedict Evans writes a weekly newsletter which always provides good information and lots of excellent web links. Here are some extracts from his latest report.

The mobile business has become much bigger than the computer industry. There have been more mobile phones than PCs since the late 1990s. There are now about 3,5 - 4 billion mobile phones, replaced every two years, versus 1,7 – 1,8 billion PCs replaced every five years.

Mobile devices have put supercomputers in our hands, representing the largest shift in computing since the PC era. The capacity and power of these devices are in their infancy and all expectations lead to a doubling of capability every 18 months. In the same way that the PC era unlocked the imagination and innovation of an entire generation, we are seeing a repeat pattern with mobile devices at an unprecedented scale.

History has shown that as computer capacity becomes available, new applications and programs happily consume the excess. Additional memory, disk and processing power always lead to substantially better and more innovative products, serving an ever-broader set of consumers. We saw it with the PC and we will see it with mobile as well.

Yet-to-be-developed applications are waiting to take advantage of this processing capability and it’s going to require mobile operating system innovations to expose this awesome power.

Great operating systems leverage new hardware, provide consistent ways to run applications. They provide a foundation for all interactions with a computing system. For PCs, Windows is the dominant operating system; for servers, Linux is dominant; and for mobile, Android enjoys 82% market share (Gartner, November 2013).

Like Linux (and unlike Windows), Android is open source, which means no one company owns the code. Anyone can improve Android by adding new functionality and tools.

One reason why Android is winning is because open source provides more innovation. Because consumers are clamouring for increased personalisation and customisation options, the Android open source community has been happily taking up the task of fulfilling that demand. The growing enterprise trend of BYOD (bring your own device) is here to stay. This will further add to that demand as consumers use their mobile devices at home, at work and on the road. All this demands more and more customised functionality.

More big companies join the IoT bandwagon

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the Internet beyond PCs, tablets and smartphones. It includes devices that have embedded technology to sense either their internal states or the external environment.

The IoT will consist primarily of machines talking to one another, with computer-connected humans observing, analysing and acting upon the resulting ‘big data’ explosion.

IoT is set to boom over the next decade. IoT devices will dwarf the number of PCs, tablets and smartphones. According to Gartners’s latest research, IoT will grow to 26 billion units by 2020, an almost 30-fold increase from 0,9 billion units today, resulting in $19 trillion in global value.

As the Internet and the worldwide web developed, more and more mobile computing devices became connected. Web servers delivered ever richer content with which they could interact. This first new Internet/web revolution has already changed the world profoundly.

But the next disruptive development, in which the majority of Internet traffic will be generated by ‘things’ rather than by human-centered computers, has the potential to change it even more dramatically.

You may remember a year ago GE announced that it is targeting the ‘industrial Internet’ as the next big growth arena (JimPinto.com eNews 19 March 2013). Well, now everyone else is jumping on the same bandwagon.

Cisco’s CEO John Chambers reflects that you usually see market transitions occur three to seven years out. He says that Cisco started in on IoT at least six years ago. He predicted that most of the computing capability and analytics will be at the edge of the network to turn around data into major leverage points. The bottom line for Cisco: IoT is going to be a $19 trillion profit market in the next few years. That includes $2,9 trillion for manufacturing alone.

IoT is becoming the backbone of Cisco’s overall business strategy. John Chambers stresses that Cisco’s IoT game plan combines the company’s cloud strategy with data analytics, mobile, collaboration, and most important of all, security. He reiterated that it’s really about how quickly you can get the desired business outcomes.

Jim Pinto is a technology futurist, international speaker and automation industry commentator. You can e-mail him at jim@jimpinto.com

Or review his prognostications and predictions on his website www.jimpinto.com




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