Is the Internet of Things Really Happening?

Over the last few years there has been much speculation about the inevitable growth of the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything). Forecasts have suggested anywhere from 30 to 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020. Cisco has estimated that the global IoT ecosystem will have a value of $14.4 trillion by 2022, and IDC has projected yearly IoT market revenue to increase to $1.7 trillion by 2020.

Here we are now in 2016, a few years into the future they were talking about back then, and it may be a good time to take a look the current state of the IoT and see how it measures up to all of these lofty expectations. Are people really embracing IoT technology at this rate? Is this money really being invested?


Connected Devices

First, let’s take a look at the number of connected devices. If we flash back to 2013, we find that Gartner released a report entitled “Forecast: The Internet of Things, Worldwide, 2013”. In this report, they predicted that the IoT will include 26 billion connected devices by 2020. Two years later, Gartner reported a total of 4.9 billion connected devices at the end of 2015, up from 3.8 billion in 2014. Gartner also revised their 2020 estimate, anticipating 20.7 billion connected devices by 2020, a decrease of 5.3 billion (20.4%) from their 2013 estimate. (It should be noted here that Cisco continues to anticipate as many as 50 billion by 2020).

So, according to Gartner, IoT adoption has not proceeded at the rate they had anticipated at the end of 2013.

One reason for the slower-than-expected growth is the difficulty faced when trying to implement IoT technology. In fact, Gartner anticipates that through 2018, 75% of IoT projects will take up to twice as long as planned.

Value of the IoT

Now, let’s consider the monetary value of the IoT and how that number has progressed. Cisco initially projected a value of $14.4 trillion by 2022. Within two years Cisco had increased this number to $19 trillion.


This highlights an interesting fact. Even though fewer connected devices are expected by this date, the total value of these devices and the underlying network is expected to be greater than it was when more devices were expected. Based on this, I think it’s safe to suggest that implementing IoT technology is turning out to be more expensive than originally thought.

This may be due in part to the fact that some enterprises are rushing headlong into IoT projects without the proper foresight and planning. Often it is a reaction to competitive pressure, based on a perception that a competitor is already moving forward with their IoT strategy, or simply in an effort to be the first and gain a competitive edge.

“I think it’s safe to suggest that implementing IoT technology is turning out to be more expensive than originally thought.”

Another answer may come from Gartner’s 2015 report: “Predicts 2015: The Internet of Things”, in which Gartner predicts that through 2018, there will be “no dominant IoT ecosystem platform”. They cite a lack of IoT standards and anticipate that IT leaders will be forced to compose solutions from multiple providers.


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Even when faced with these realities, however, enterprises are still moving forward with their IoT projects. The extra expense – though unanticipated – is not nearly enough to outweigh the potential benefits. The IoT is most certainly transforming the way businesses operate, and no one wants to be the last one to this dance.

IoT Investment

This is an important category as it will largely determine how quickly the industry moves to develop standards, and how motivated IoT solution providers will be to develop more powerful and more cost-effective solutions.
Recall IDC’s projection of annual market revenue reaching $1.7 trillion by 2020. It would stand to reason that if we are learning that IoT projects are coming in over budget and late, there is probably some distaste in the marketplace, and maybe IDC’s projection was a bit ambitious.

At the same time, though, if people are spending more on IoT initiatives than they had originally planned, perhaps IDC’s projection was a bit conservative. Let’s examine how things are taking shape.

In 2015, IDC reported that worldwide IoT spending reached $655.8 billion in 2014 and calculated a 16.9% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate).

Well, 2015 is now in the books and we can see how IDC’s projections seem to be holding up. Their latest report indicates that spending in 2015 reached $698.6 billion, a CAGR over 2014 of only 6.53%. Had IDC’s anticipated CAGR proven accurate, 2015 revenue should have been closer to $766 billion.

Notwithstanding this fact, however, IDC continues to project a CAGR of 17% and an increase in spending to $1.3 billion by 2019, which would equal approximately $1.5 billion in 2020. It looks like IDC sees the IoT market cooling off a bit, though not much.

So, while the earlier projection has proven to be overly optimistic, it is clear that investments in IoT initiatives are continuing to increase with no end in sight.

If there is any kind of meaningful takeaway from all of this, I think it’s safe to surmise that IoT projects may be coming in late and over budget, but that doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on continued investments. It is clear that business owners and executives see the value and have no interest in letting their competitor’s gain an edge.
So, was the IoT hyped a bit excessively over the last couple of years? Maybe a bit. But, it is also very real and happening right now.


The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Are We There Yet?

The cat is no longer in the bag. In fact, she’s already rummaging through businesses and homes in your hometown – maybe in your neighborhood. Before our eyes, the Internet of Things (IoT) has evolved from a nice idea to a measured experiment with tangible results. As expected, early adopters are primarily large enterprises with significant resources to dedicate to new technology, but the IoT does not always require a substantial investment. Sometimes, it is as simple as finding a better way to use your current technology and associated data. Some industrial enterprises have already seen the benefits of machine intelligence and the marriage of people and processes. Other organizations are using the IoT to provide better customer service and more targeted marketing. Is it safe to say the experiment is over? Have we burst through the hype bubble to arrive at a practical understanding of what’s at stake?

The Industrial IoT promises more efficient production processes, reduced resource consumption and waste, safer workplaces, and more empowered employees. There are many success stories already, and more are sure to come.

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama

Honda’s largest light truck production facility in the world – a 3.7 million square foot plant – was faced with a problem all too common to large manufacturing facilities. Over the years, a number of different automation systems were introduced to help streamline production. With operations including blanking, stamping, welding, painting, injection molding, and many other processes involved in producing up to 360,000 vehicles and engines per year, it is not surprising that they found themselves struggling to integrate PLCs from multiple manufacturers, multiple MES systems, analytic systems, and database software from different vendors.

Of course, on top of these legacy systems, Honda continued to layer an array of smart devices on the plant floor and embed IT devices in plant equipment. The complexity introduced by this array of automation systems turned out to be slowing down the operations they were intended to streamline.

After reorganizing their business structure to merge IT and plant floor operations into a single department, Honda proceeded to deploy a new automation software platform that enabled them to bring together PLC data with the data coming from MES and ERP systems into a common interface that allowed the entire enterprise to be managed through a single system. This also allowed Honda to manage and analyze much larger data sets that revealed new opportunities for further optimization. While this reorganization required a significant investment of resources, they were able realize benefits immediately, and ultimately positioned themselves to maintain a competitive edge through the next decade or more.


As one the world’s foremost suppliers of industrial robots and modular manufacturing systems, ABB has had their finger on the pulse of industrial technology for years. As the IIoT emerged, ABB was quick to find ways to take advantage of the opportunities presented. The company has installed more than 250,000 robots in numerous industries worldwide: plastics, electronics, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and many more.

Before the IIoT, in order to provide service ABB needed to dispatch technicians to remote sites to perform diagnosis. Today, a small operations team in a centralized Control Center are able to monitor in real-time precise and reliable information about each robot’s current status and activity. This has not only enabled ABB to substantially reduce the cost of their maintenance and operations, but the data collected has allowed them to develop a set of predictive KPIs to anticipate problems before they occur, helping their customers benefit from less downtime and increased productivity.


Kennametal was able to increase the productivity of their discrete manufacturing operations by using machine tool data and complex event processing. Whereas the traditional approach to increasing productivity was to reduce downtime, Kennametal focused on improving productivity by reducing cycle time. The solution employs complex event processing software that gathers and analyzes production data in real-time. Kennametal was able to understand which operators out-perform the production plan and guide less-experienced operators toward improvement. As an example: in one machining operation it was determined that taking a fast, shallow cut reduced cycle time by 16% over the slower, deeper cut the production plan called for. Best practices of this sort have been shown to reduce Kennametal’s cycle time by 20-40%.

The examples provided by Honda, ABB, and Kennametal are just a few of the hundreds of different IIoT success stories that can be found on the internet. Companies like GE, Ford, Intel, and dozens more are pouring literally billions of dollars into IIoT technologies this year alone. This is not an investment in possibility and hope. The IIoT is very real and it is happening right now. Of course, as with anything new there will be plenty of hurdles and blind alleyways, but many of the initial obstacles have been discovered and overcome. The foundation is in place and the arrow is pointing up. Companies are no longer asking: Should we? They are asking: How can we and how quickly?
**B-Scada has provided best-of-breed data visualization solutions since 2003, providing industrial and commercial customers the tools they need to transform their processes and empower their personnel to maximize efficiency, productivity, and safety. Learn more at

The Many Faces of Data Visualization

Data Visualization

Data Visualization has become one of the common “buzz” phrases swirling around the internet these days. With all of the promises of Big Data and the IoT (Internet of Things), more organizations are making an effort to get more value from the voluminous data they generate. This frequently involves complex analysis – both real time and historical – combined with automation.

A key factor in translating this data into actionable information, and thusly into informed action, is the means by which this data is visualized. Will it be seen in real time? And by whom? Will it be displayed in colorful bubble charts and trend graphs? Or will it be embedded in high-detail 3D graphics? What is the goal of the visualization? Is it to share information? Enable collaboration? Empower decision-making? Data visualization might be a popular concept, but we don’t all have the same idea about what it means.

For many organizations, effective data visualization is an important part of doing business. It can even be a matter of life and death (think healthcare and military applications). Data visualization (or information visualization) is an integral part of some scientific research. From particle physics to sociology, creating concise but powerful visualizations of research data can help researchers quickly identify patterns or anomalies, and can maybe sometimes inspire that warm and fuzzy feeling we get when we feel like we’ve finally wrapped our head around something.

Today’s Visual Culture

We live in a world today that seems to be generating new information at a pace that can be overwhelming. With television, the Web, roadside billboards, and more all vying for our increasingly-fragmented attention, the media and corporate America are forced to find new ways of getting their messages through the noise and into our perception. More often than not – when possible – the medium chosen to share the message is visual. Whether it’s through an image, a video, a fancy infographic or a simple icon, we have all become very adept at processing information visually.

It’s a busy world with many things about which we feel a need to be informed. While we all receive information in numerous ways throughout the course of any given day, only certain portions of that information will have any real effect on the way we think and act as we go about our normal lives. The power of effective data visualization is that it can distill those actionable details from large sets of data simply by putting it in the proper context.

Well-planned data visualization executed in a visually-appealing way can lead to faster, more confident decisions. It can shed light on past failures and reveal new opportunities. It can provide a tool for collaboration, planning, and training. It is becoming a necessity for many organizations who hope to compete in the marketplace, and those who do it well will distinguish themselves.

**B-Scada has provided best-of-breed data visualization solutions since 2003, providing industrial and commercial customers the tools they need to transform their processes and empower their personnel to maximize efficiency, productivity, and safety. Learn more at