The massive tech trends gaining traction now will explode over the coming decade. And those trends are melding together. By 2025, 50 billion IoT devices will produce big data. Wearable tech connectivity and personal medical devices will add to the digital mountain. All of it will drift up to the cloud. You'll wear a contact lens that contains a glucose sensor that will send data to the healthcare cloud.
Cisco Systems expects we'll produce 1.2 zettabytes per year in unique data by 2020. That's 1021, or the equivalent of 200 billion DVDs. These projections and more were presented by Dale Ford, chief analyst at IHS, during an EDS 2014 presentation held last week in Las Vegas. This is not science fiction. In fact, IHS has had to keep raising the 50 billion connected devices figure.
Ford sees aggressive growth in wearable technology. "We'll see 1.2 billion wearable devices by 2018, and infotainment will dominate,” Ford said during the presentation. “Smart watches alone will be 30 million to 100 million." He noted that 175 million of these devices will be part of the IoT connection to the cloud. He expects Google Glass and its imitators to drive growth in headwear technology. Sectors producing wearable devices will include consumer electronics, healthcare and fitness, military, and industrial.
The Internet of Things
As for the Internet of Things, IHS recently revised its projections upward due to early acceptance of widespread connected devices. Ford noted the IoT trend will be accompanied by developments in ultra-low-power devices. He also expects expanded capacity for IoT devices. The dark cloud hanging over IoT is security and privacy. He noted the industry still has a lot of work to do on those fronts.
Big-data cloud analytics
Ford expects that trillions of sensors will feed data into the cloud over the coming decade. "The cloud will be more than just the Internet. It will be big-data analytics and software-as-a-service," said Ford. "There will be data analysis of both structure and unstructured data. We'll see a new science develop to analyze data, and those who do not understand the cloud will be left behind."
Ford expects the convergence of IoT, the cloud, and big-data analytics will create smart cities based on Cisco and Siemens technology. The benefits of big-data analytics utilized by smart cities across the globe could have a dramatic effect on efficiencies in asset usage and logistics. "We see a potential $2.5 trillion in annual savings in asset utilization and $2.7 trillion in annual savings in supply chain and logistics," said Ford.
3D printing and ultra HD TV
Ford sees growth in 3D printing as it moves from industrial and military to small business and consumers. “3D printing will give us new products that are not ready for volume production,” said Ford. "We'll also see 3D printing used with biomaterials to produce body parts, even skin." As for TVs, display technology will produce HD that is four times the resolution of current HD. "We'll also see flexible and curved displays. The flexible displays will move to mobile phones and wearable electronics," said Ford.
Cars, sensors, and LED lighting
He noted that high-end auto electronics are moving from luxury cars to all vehicles. "Even the Ford Focus," said Ford. "The change in electronics is just the last couple years is dramatic.” He also expects to see an increase in mandated safety tools, much like the
recently mandated backup cameras. “The goal for highway fatalities is to bring it down to zero. I see a path to get there," said Ford.
As for other related technologies, Ford sees mass consumer adoption of LED lights and he believes the price point will keep coming down. He sees LED developments in industrial settings, but he also see the development of artistic LED lighting for consumers, including the introduction of color lighting for the home. He expects significant developments in unmanned vehicles. "They will soon take drones into weather systems and they will be able to give a half-hour warning on tornados instead of the two-minute warning we have now."