Last week, I attended the Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum event which was hosted by Cisco Systems in Barcelona, Spain. This inaugural event included more than 15 vendor sponsors such as AGT International, Oracle, IBM, SAP, and Zebra Technologies, and was attended by nearly 800 attendees including press and industry analysts. Breakout sessions addressed Internet of Things initiatives in industry, government, technology, education, and culture. A highlight of the event was a walking tour of the city of Barcelona, which is being transformed into a smart city.Examples of demonstrated IoT applications included: connected bus stops which provide citizens with real time travel information; smart parking sensors in on-street parking spaces to help citizens find open spaces via a smartphone application; and smart waste management solutions which incorporate sensors in street waste containers to monitor when the containers are full.  

A few key themes emerged from the conference. First, there is not a standard definition of the Internet of Things, however, there is a sense that the “time is now” for vendors, service providers, and organizations to participate in the Internet of Things market. In addition, there is a complex vendor and service provider ecosystem offering network infrastructure, devices, applications, and services built on multiple standards to address emerging demand for IoT solutions. Vendors and service providers must partner to develop user friendly IoT solutions, as well as clearly define and differentiate their IoT solution implementation capabilities.   

Forrester includes Internet of Things solutions and the machine to machine technologies which enable these solutions as part of a broader concept we call the connected world. We are entering a technology revolution which uses sensors, networks, and analytic software to connect physical objects and infrastructure to computing systems, providing an unprecedented view into the status, location, and activities of products, assets, and people. By understanding the landscape of the connected world, business technology leaders can prepare their firms for the implications of optimizing assets, differentiating product and services, and transforming customer relationships. If you are interested in our insight and perspective on the factors driving demand for connected world solutions, please see our recently released “Mapping The Connected World” report.