WHAT is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting the world around us. So that everyday things can work together for us. Everything from kitchen appliances to manufacturing plants, we get more efficient, safer and more sustainable ways of doing everything every day.

What is a connected thing and what does it do?

Today, almost anything that benefits from an Internet connection can be connected. Cars, homes, places of business, cargo containers, buses; many of them are already connected and more of them will be in the years to come. In general, connected things can be used for monitoring, controling, optimizing and to achieve autonomy. Each of these areas of capability represent another step of advancement. For example, in order for a car to be autonomous – to drive itself – it needs IoT to allow for monitoring, control and optimization in order to be safe and efficient.

Why do we connect things?

Simply put there are three basic motivations to connect things: efficiency, safety and sustainability. Efficiency means that IoT provides opportunities to save time, money or to make something better by connecting it to the Internet. For example by making it possible to perform a task in less time or with less manpower. We can achieve safety by connecting things to avoid accidents, theft, sabotage or to increase reliability. Sustainability is a wider concept that motivates us to connect things in order to preserve the environment, to conserve resources or to further a more sustainable form of society.

How does it get connected?

The Internet of Things is a growing worldwide network of objects with sensors, software and connectivity built in. The connected devices form clusters that combine into systems, and then into systems of systems. Connectivity is really at the heart of the matter and the foundation upon which IoT is built. Mostly, the connections are made via 3G- or 4G-networks, but sometimes fixed broadband connections or WiFi:s are used. By 2018, when 5G is expected to be launched, the possibilities of IoT are expected to virtually explode. In order for IoT to work properly and grant the users the benefits they seek, the connectivity has to be up to the task. This is where Telia Company becomes the enabler in relation to other providers of IoT services and their customers.

Where is IoT heading?

The devices we use keep getting smaller, with more processing power and at the same time the networks that connect them grows more powerful and reliable. As a result of these two factors converging, new applications, services and products will emerge at an increasing rate. Also, the way services for IoT are being developed – in value networks rather than the traditional value chains – means that focus always will be on the usefulness of technology, rather than on the technology itself. In the near future, we believe that these things will result in three kinds of developments. Firstly, the enabling of remote controlled devices to help you for instance checking that the front door is locked. Secondly, the enabling of innovative services and improved productivity, for example by using IoT in combination with big data-analysis in order to predict consumer behavior. And third, the seamless integration of IoT into the most critical systems of our society, like remote medical treatment or autonomous transports.

How big is IoT in reality?

It is already big, but it is about to become huge. A recent survey by Ericsson indicates that the number of connected devices will reach 26 billion by 2020 – almost 3,5 devices per person on Earth. By the same year, the total added value of IoT is estimated to be worth about USD 1,9 trillion across sectors. The IoT revenues in the Nordics alone is expected to be EUR 12 billion in about 3 years. Some analysts predict that IoT will outgrow the rest of the Internet by a factor of 10, meaning that there will be 10 times as many IoT-devices as there will be other kinds of connected devices.