50 billion connected IoT devices by 2020

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Even though there are only 15 billion devices on the Internet of Things (IoT) today,  a new report found that there will be 50 billion devices by 2020 -- according to a new report by Cisco and DHL.

The Internet of Everything. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: DHL/Cisco

According to Cisco, the increased deployment will affect utilities in many ways. The Internet of Everything (IoE) "is revolutionizing the way utility companies monitor, control, and distribute energy over electrical grids," the company said. "It's resulting in better, more reliable service, consumer empowerment and improved capacity and efficiency for grid operators."

Cisco defines IoE connections as machine-to-machine (M2M); machine-toperson (M2P); or person-to-person (P2P), and said "IoE includes not just the networked connection of physical objects, but also includes the links between people, process, and data."

For a utility, this includes helping to accurately monitor power levels on the grid with smart monitoring systems, as well as optimizing substation device coordination. According to Cisco, "with a networked communication infrastructure, utility operators can use substation automation systems to optimize device coordination and reduce faults on the grid."

"Monitoring and predicting energy usage in supply chain and logistics has historically been difficult due to the complexity of the operating environment, and competing priorities like safety, meeting regulations, and optimizing productivity," James Macauley, director of consulting Services with Cisco, told Smart Grid News. "IoT brings enormous potential to utilities by creating more insight into operating efficiencies and more precise energy usage models. Utilities can use the new information to transform decision making and give grid operators more control for a more flexible and resilient grid."

The report also looked at what the increased technology will have on businesses. Resource and energy monitoring can reduce energy waste. The report looked at Hagihon, a municipal water utility company in Israel that has installed smart devices to improve water-system management, maintenance, and bill collection. The result has been a more efficient utility and a reduced bottom line.

"For any organization with a supply chain or logistics operations, IoT will have game-changing consequences, from creating more 'last mile' delivery options for customers, to more efficient warehousing operations and freight transportation," the report explained, adding that the IoT will generate around $8 trillion worldwide, from innovation and revenue ($2.1 trillion); asset utilization ($2.1 trillion); supply chain and logistics ($1.9 trillion); employee productivity improvements ($1.2 trillion); and enhanced customer and citizen experience ($700 billion).

"Digital disruption is all around us and it's having massive implications for business. Digitization and the expansion of the Internet of Things is a catalyst for growth, which is driving new economic models and enabling organizations to remain competitive and embrace the pace of change happening globally," said Cisco's Chris Dedicoat. "This report clearly demonstrates that digitization and the IoT will deliver long term efficiencies and growth opportunities across a wide range of industries."

The report also found that research into the logistics of IoT will speed up the spread of IoT technology as operational efficiency increases, and business processes will see a significant change across industries. With the introduction of things like sensor technology and Internet enhancements, everything from supply to logistics will be affected.

"To get the maximum global economic benefit, we'll need to understand how all components in the value chain converge and this will require a comprehensive collaboration, participation and the willingness to invest to create a thriving IoT eco system for sustainable business processes," said DHL's Markus Kückelhaus.

For more:
- read the report

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