The Internet of Things (IoT)—or “Internet of Everything”—is a term describing the emerging global ecosystem of Internet Protocol (IP)-based intelligent sensors and devices communicating electronically through wired and wireless hardware and software networks. IoT allows humans, machines, buildings, infrastructure, clothing, and other objects to autonomously exchange, monitor, analyze and respond to continuously shifting information environments.

The most important short-term IoT growth areas are occurring in energy, infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing.

Focusing on utilities, a key component of IoT will be network management systems (NMS). These systems operate multi-network, multi-protocol, and multi-frequency wireless networks to meet the coverage and performance needs for utilities’ smart energy communications assets in order to integrate their generation, transmission, substation, distribution, metering and alternative energy assets.

Worldwide, from 2013 to 2020, the number of network devices to be managed by utilities is projected to grow from 485 million to 1.53 billion.

IoT Dynamics: Current State versus Future State

Current State Future State Example
Singular in Network Functionality Multiple Network Functionality Current: Company X network has IoT capabilities for Company X only
Future: Company X IoT capabilities can integrate across Company Z network and into Consumer A network
Network is Finite Dynamically Expandable Network Current: Company X network has a finite limit or capacity
Future: Company X network dynamically and automatically expands to meet needs of company X
M2M M2H – M2M Current: Machines communicate mainly with other machines
Future: Machines communicate with humans and vice-versa as well as other machines
Support Millions of Devices/Nodes Billions or Trillions of Devices/Nodes Current: Millions of devices or nodes can be connected
Future: Billions if not trillions of nodes may be on a network
Pre-determined set of Network Devices Monitored All Devices Connected and Monitored on any Given Network Current: Company X network only has ability to track or connect with device A and device B
Future: Company X network has the ability to see and connect with any devices visible to their network

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