Get set for a smart future

ESNA Mar15 Pg04 VftT America ii 1President of America II Electronics, Brian Ellison, explores how internet of things (IoT) technology will change the distribution channel.

The buzz right now is all about the internet of things (IoT). Reports, forecasts and ongoing analysis are all about predicting the future of smart technology and the potential it brings, but what does all this mean to those in the channel?

Late last year, IDC analysts said revenues tied to the IoT could hit $7.1 trillion by the year 2020. Gartner also forecast that the IoT segment of the semiconductor market would grow by 36 per cent this year alone. Naturally, that means growth for the technologies that support IoT, like microcontrollers, embedded processors, sensors, memory and battery management to name a few.

Furthermore, mid-tier customers should fuel growth of IoT solutions for several reasons. There are no roadblocks to entry for these customers and because the technology exists today, they have a quick, low-cost point of entry. These customers produce a diverse range of devices, all of which have the potential of being ‘connected’ over the next five years. Consequently the possibilities are nearly endless for electronics distribution, which is the primary support channel for these customers.

Rapid evolution

The great thing about the electronics industry is the fact that technology is always evolving. Companies are innovating and advancing every day; think of Apple which redefined the smartphone, Philips and its smart light bulbs, or Nest Labs and its smart thermostat. These are some of the players leading the charge, but there’s actually much more potential. Home appliances, security systems, wearable devices, automotive and energy management applications are really just getting started. What’s next?

Analysts and researchers expect to see billions of connected devices in the next 10 years. Imagine a future where the internet becomes even more engrained in our day-to-day lives. That’s the potential for OEMs today, most of which are starting to plan the next wave of connected devices, and it goes way beyond the types of device most people envision.

Unlimited potential

Potential for the IoT extends way beyond the consumer device examples mentioned above. It also encompasses public sector solutions like the smart grid. Entire cities are deploying new infrastructure including computer systems, networks and connected devices to enhance the reliability and efficiency of their public utilities. In addition, connected solutions for traffic management, pollution monitoring and smart parking controls are already being developed and used. The government is finding that IoT solutions lead to cost savings, improved employee productivity and enhanced services to citizens. With positive results such as these, there’s no reason to see a slowdown in connected devices.

All of this means more opportunities for OEMs around the world. Devices already in production can easily evolve into connected devices; it is just a matter of thinking beyond today’s applications. To this end, America II is rolling up its sleeves, getting in front of customers and helping them find those solutions. The potential is out there for everyone and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for our industry.