The Internet of everything will take center stage when Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers gives his keynote address Jan. 7 at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014.
Chambers over the past year has talked about Cisco's ability to take advantage of key transitions in the tech industry, and has pointed to the Internet of everything as the next big transition. The networking giant intends to be a leader in the transition, he has said.
The Internet of things refers to the continued push to the rapid growth in the number of smart devices—from industrial machines to cars to appliances to mobile devices—that will be connected to the Internet, communicating with each other and generating massive amounts of data. Cisco executives have talked about the Internet of everything, which not only includes connections between machines but also between people, data and applications.
In a guest post on the Cisco blog site, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research at the Consumer Electronics Association, said that "the number of 'things' connected to the Internet surpassed the number of people on the planet in 2008." In addition, Cisco is predicting that the number of connected systems and things will grow to 15 billion to 25 billion by 2015, and then to 40 billion to 50 billion by 2020.
"Another eye-popping estimate from Cisco: that 50 billion total predicted for 2020 would represent only 4 percent of the 'things' on Earth, a far cry from the 99-percent connectivity we may one day realize," wrote DuBravac, adding that the Internet of things will be a key point of interest at CES this year.
Chambers has said that the Internet of everything will result in $14.4 trillion for businesses worldwide by 2020. IDC analysts believe the IoT market could hit $8.9 trillion by 2020.
Those kinds of numbers are convincing a growing number of tech vendors—from chip makers to networking vendors to systems manufacturers—to focus their energies on the technologies that will be necessary to enable this kind of connectivity and the ability to store, move and analyze huge amounts of data the IoT will produce.
Cisco in October created a business unit dedicated to the IoT. Chip giant Intel made a similar move in November, and in September introduced a new family of small, low-power chips—dubbed Quark—that will be aimed at the Internet of things and wearable computing devices.
According to Cisco officials, the Internet of everything will be the focal point of Chambers' speech at CES, which is scheduled for Jan. 7 at 4:30 PT.