The Internet of Things is undoubtedly one of the defining IT trends of the day. Projections about the IoT's potential size and influence are staggering:
- Cisco estimated that 50 billion IP-enabled devices could be connected to the IoT by 2020.
- McKinsey predicted that IoT business could net more than $6 trillion in revenue by 2025.
- By the end of the decade, the IoT could be orders of magnitude larger than all mobile devices and PCs currently in use.
Still, what is the IoT, exactly, and how will it affect businesses and consumers? Simply connecting billions of sensors and endpoints to the Internet won't be enough to create value or ensure a good user experience. At least one developer has already made fun of "the day that my thermostat can stream ads to my watch," referring to the forays of tech giants such as Google into the IoT space.
For the IoT to really take off, developers have to get on board and create high-performing applications. Cloud computing architectures such as a private cloud paired with Amazon Web Services could be instrumental to the development of top-flight software that can reach users reliably at scale.
The Internet of Things: Developers Wanted
If the IoT lives up to the hype, it will provide an unprecedented opportunity for DevOps-practicing organizations capable of rapidly producing and iterating applications. By sheer size, IoT could become the largest platform ever.
"The growth in IoT will far exceed that of other connected devices. By 2020, the number of smartphones, tablets and PCs in use will reach about 7.3 billion units," stated Gartner research director Peter Middleton. "In contrast, the IoT will have expanded at a much faster rate, resulting in a population of about 26 billion units at that time."
The value of the IoT won't be in its infrastructure, but in the myriad applications and services that make it work. Naturally, creating such a system will take enormous contributions from developers. A VisionMobile report estimated that while only 300,000 programmers were working on IoT projects in 2014, the number could balloon to 4.5 million by 2020.
As happened with PCs and mobile devices, commodity hardware and networks will become valuable through bundled services and sophisticated software. To create such solutions, shops can use a test cloud to streamline their process and ultimately refine their products.