The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released a detailed report on the Internet of Things (IoT), based on a workshop the FTC held in November 2014. A few years ago, we passed one of those milestones that goes unexamined until it pops up in the rearview mirror: the number of ‘Things’ connected to the Internet surpassed the number of people using it five or six years ago. Estimates suggest that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2025: like smart thermostats, smart watches, automobiles, fitness bracelets, and office lighting systems.
Note that the orientation of the FTC toward consumer protections means that they focused on consumer use of the IoT, and specifically avoiding the business use of such devices. However, I intend to extrapolate on their findings in the business setting, for several reasons. First, people at work are likely to be bringing their ‘Things’ to work, so we can expect the same consumerization of work trends that have upended business already to continue. Secondly, especially in small and medium sized business, we can expect that consumer products — like smart environmental solutions and employee geo-tracking, as just the most obvious examples — will be applied in the work setting.