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7/17/2014
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Internet Of Things: 8 Pioneering Ideas

Today's Internet of Things remains a disparate assortment of ideas and products competing for attention. These pioneers should intrigue enterprise IT.
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If you're figuring out how to apply the Internet of Things (IoT) in your organization, bring your imagination and get ready to do some heavy lifting.

Sure, we've all seen the predictions from Gartner: 26 billion IoT units deployed by 2020, with product and service suppliers positioned to rake in revenue of more than $300 billion. But here, now, in 2014, the IoT -- and the machine-to-machine technology behind it -- is really a disparate assortment of ideas and products competing for attention.

Vendors are trotting out all manner of products and applications to address specific needs -- such as health monitors or home automation -- alongside ambitious platform plays. At the moment, though, we're seeing little action in the way of true enterprise-grade applications. To learn why, see InformationWeek editor Chris Murphy's in-depth look at the hurdles faced by enterprise CIOs who already have clear IoT wishes, at companies like GE Power & Water and ConocoPhillips: Internet Of Things: What's Holding Us Back?

One hurdle is that the IoT lacks standards, though efforts on that front are being made by major players in the space through the Oasis Consortium's IoT/M2M committee.

Also, the IoT space is currently so focused on consumer-oriented products and applications such as wearable devices and home monitoring systems that it's hard for an enterprise IT executive to see through the clutter to understand how the IoT can be applied in a business context.

In hopes of helping you wade through the piles of IoT information, we've assembled our list of eight IoT startups and projects to watch. This list is by no means comprehensive. We chose to focus on players that have products or software that hold potential for the enterprise, as well as some of the companies that are focusing on IoT platforms to ease the pain of building enterprise-scale IoT applications.

You won't read about Nest Labs here. That well-publicized Google-funded company is already selling a reported 40,000 to 50,000 of its home thermostats per month. We're hoping to raise your awareness of companies that are not generating major headlines -- yet. We also hope to tempt you down some new roads of thinking about how consumer-focused applications might be applied to the enterprise.

Tell us what you think of our choices in the comment section below. Are we off our rockers? Which companies fascinate you the most? Which ones downright frighten you, and why? And what other companies would you have liked to see on this list?

Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio

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Jeff Jerome
IW Pick
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 11:43:29 PM
Re: It's all about the network neutrality
Network Nutrality and the Internt Of Things, what a world we live in.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 9:55:24 PM
Re: It's all about the network neutrality
@asksqn: On the contrary, it will just make it easier for those with deep pockets to take advantge of IoT--including our corporate overlords.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 9:54:04 PM
Re: Internet of Things is great...really...BUT
@itusnetworks: Security is one of the best arguments for standardization and protocols, IMHO. and those standards need to have solid security protocols baked in. I'm already hearing stories from many friends that their suppoedly WPA-protected home routers are being hacked, so your concerns are very very valid.

On a lighter note, my fear runs along the lines of somehow managing to get myself trapped in my own home because of a connected gadget fail.

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."

"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 9:45:19 PM
Re: Smaller footprints with the Internet
@kstaron: Ha! I'd be in trouble too, I'm already bumping into things in my home and office when they don't ever move, I don't know what would happen to me if the layout kept shifting...!

The Soundhawk is the one that appeals to me most, I have really sensitive hearing and to be able to dial down background noise in certain situations would be a blessing.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 6:27:15 PM
It's all about the network neutrality
The Internet of Things won't be worth diddly if the service providers are permitted by the lapto FTC to erect toll roads on the web to filter traffic between those with deep pockets who can afford the fast lane versus everyone else crawling on the dirt road. #NetworkNeutrality 
Itus Networks
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Itus Networks,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2014 | 7:21:47 PM
Internet of Things is great...really...BUT
Great article and love the examples that go beyond the usual poster-children. Very excited to see it all happen.

But also very scared because none of the home-focused solutions like IoT hubs, adjustable lights, smoke detectors, thermostats or security cameras (how ironic) have any level of security built in. They're terrific gadgets. But they also open consumer's home networks up to attack/breach. We think this is a big issue and it's currently not addressed by anyone. Consumers only have the choice between antivirus (which you can't install on a thermostat) or the outdated "security" of a router - which is also not made to secure the home network, despite what their manufacturers will tell us. There's a reason why EFF and ISE have created http://sohopelesslybroken.com.   
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Moderator
7/24/2014 | 5:01:13 PM
Smaller footprints with the Internet
these are all incredible applications. I'm  big fan of the space saving idea of the first one (Although those of us that talk with our hands might run into trouble when the toilet appears in the middle of dinner.) THe ability to truly change the function of a room that can become a conference room a dining area, a work space, a lounge or even sleeping quarters for those really really late night projects has the potential for revolutionizing the standard space requirements of an office.
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