First Read

A first take on enterprise IT technology news and events.

Cisco CEO: Internet of Everything Will Be Worth $19 Trillion

At CES, John Chambers said the Internet of everything will be more about its impact on people's lives than the underlying technology.

Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers said the global financial impact of the Internet of everything will hit $19 trillion by 2020, the result of more people buying more things as well as savings created when systems and infrastructure are more efficient.

Chambers, speaking Jan. 7 at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, said the Internet of everything "will be bigger than anything that's ever been done in high tech," adding that "this is not about technology at all. It's about how it changes peoples' lives forever."

The CEO has been talking about the Internet of everything for more than a year, and has said the networking giant will be a leader in the market. Cisco defines the Internet of everything as the connection of systems, people, data and applications, with executives saying the more well-known Internet of things (IoT) is a subset. Cisco officials predict that there will be as many as 50 billion connected systems by 2020. For the world's largest networking vendor—and a company building out its larger data center strategy—such numbers represent a huge opportunity.

Chambers last year said the Internet of everything would result in $14.4 trillion to private businesses. At CES, he added $4.6 trillion revenue gains for the public sector. Savings from greater efficiencies will be as important as consumers and businesses buying new technologies. For example, Chambers said European countries could see a 70 to 80 percent drop in street lighting costs by using smart streetlights. Trash cans with sensors could cut 30 percent in waste management costs.

At CES, Cisco also is a sponsor of the "Internet of Everything Tech Zone." In its booth, the company is demonstrating services that can be offered by service providers—including Cisco's new cloud-enabled Videoscape TV offering as well as home control and automation features, location-based data and information collected from sensors. In addition, Cisco's simulated retail environment—dubbed "Big Box"—demonstrates such Internet-of-everything capabilities as location-based data, video, predictive analytics and security cameras that retailers can use to improve their customers' shopping experiences.

The Internet of things is expected to grow into a significant market. IDC analysts say the IoT market could reach $8.9 trillion by 2020. Cisco officials are making sure their company is ready for it: Cisco in October created a dedicated IoT business unit. Many other tech vendors also see a significant opportunity in IoT. Chip-maker Intel in November also created an IoT division group.