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Gartner Says Potential Size and Diversity of the Internet of Things Mask Immediate Opportunities

The Internet of Things to Be Discussed at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, October 6-10, Orlando, Florida

The Internet plays an increasingly central role in the modern world, not only at the level of infrastructure, but also in culture, society and business. The Internet of Things extends that role to encompass an increasingly diverse range of devices and communications streams, many of which will be essentially machine-to-machine communications, rather than involving a person at either endpoint, according to Gartner, Inc. 

Gartner defines the Internet of Things as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and interact with their internal states or the external environment. 

"The volume of opportunities arising from the Internet of Things over the long term is generally agreed to be in the realm of very large to huge," said Stephen Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Manufacturing opportunities, deployment, activation and ongoing management of millions of devices, and the analytical opportunities arising from massive streams of potentially real-time information all represent huge untapped business opportunities. Business and IT leaders should explore these developments, and focus not on what is new and different, but look more closely at what is essentially the same as existing business processes." 

"Business leaders find the diversity of current Internet of Things applications fails to make a compelling business case to explore or commit resources to this emergent area. Equally, existing 'serious' enterprise applications seem worlds apart from the apparently consumer-focused Internet of Things buzz," said Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner. "However, over the past decade, the consumerization of IT has increasingly encroached on enterprise IT, steadily infiltrating and subverting enterprise infrastructure — first, with PCs, and then Wi-Fi, followed by the Internet, smartphones, media tablets and social networks. The days when technology originated in military and government circles and then filtered down via enterprises to individual end users are long gone, and the direction of technology migration has now been totally reversed, so skeptics would be well-advised to monitor these consumer-facing developments closely."

The sheer diversity of Internet of Things applications that have emerged to date is so broad that it is easy to become overwhelmed and yet find nothing that appears to relate directly to one's existing business. In reality, many applications that appear to be completely unique share an underlying functionality that is essentially common across the different applications.

Much of the differentiation and value of the Internet of Things resides not in the device, nor even the connectivity, but in the data aggregation, data-processing and decision-making activities that take advantage of the data streams emanating from the device (or the ability to remotely influence that device).

IT leaders are the natural entry point for new technology ideas in the enterprise. They can use their understanding and insight to objectively assess where and how these new developments might benefit their organizations in reducing the costs of existing operations and processes, or creating entirely new revenue streams and value opportunities. 

The use of embedded systems in industry is well-established, and the Internet of Things extends these systems into significant new areas but also raises some confusion over the potential similarities. 

"By understanding the various classes of devices that will likely populate the Internet of Things, the CIO will be well-placed to spot additional opportunities or see similarities that business colleagues may overlook," said Mr. Prentice. "By ignoring the details of each application and looking instead at the underlying characteristics of the different device types and how they can populate an Internet of Things infrastructure, the CIO or IT leader can bring clarity and insight to what appears to be a very confused set of possibilities. By simply classifying device types and functionalities, IT leaders make market segmentation and the identification of new business opportunities much simpler." 

More detailed analysis is available in the report "The Potential Size and Diversity of the Internet of Things Mask Immediate Opportunities of IT Leaders." The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2553315.

 About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency. 

Additional information for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 in Orlando, October 6-10, is available at www.gartner.com/us/symposium. Members of the media can register for the event by contacting Christy Pettey at christy.pettey@gartner.com

Additional information from the event will be shared on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Gartner_inc and using #GartnerSym. 

Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 include:

September 16-18, Cape Town, South Africa: www.gartner.co.za

October 6-10, Orlando, Florida: www.gartner.com/us/symposium

October 15-17, Tokyo, Japan: www.gartner.com/jp/symposium

October 21-24, Goa, India: www.gartner.com/in/symposium

October 28-31, Gold Coast, Australia: www.gartner.com/au/symposium

November 4-7, Sao Paulo, Brazil: www.gartner.com/br/symposium

November 10-14, Barcelona, Spain: www.gartner.com/eu/symposium

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Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. We deliver the technology-related insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, we are the valuable partner to clients in over 9,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 6,400 associates, including more than 1,480 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

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