A revolution has begun in communications, and it is changing everything. Advances in the internet protocol, the fifth generation of wireless and artificial intelligence will coalesce into nothing short of a societal shift, according to Jake MacLeod, principal, Gray Beards Consulting.
“Like when cellular changed the way we do business and changed the way we live, 5G will open up tremendous, tremendous opportunities for new entrepreneurs and new business lines,” he said.
Business applications will make up 60 percent of the IoT market and 40 percent will be consumer by 2020, according to analysts. The business segment includes public service, manufacturing, cities, energy and retail.
“For business, the intent of IoT is to lower the operating costs, increase productivity and expand into to new markets with new product offerings. For government, it is the same but the third objective is to improve the quality of life of the citizens,” MacLeod said.
What does IoT mean? It’s basically a growing number of smart devices, primarily sensors, collectively transmitting a ton of information over wireless networks onto the internet. The IoT market was reported to be $650 billion in 2015 by analysts.
But all that data isn’t worth that much unless there is the ability to analyze it. IoT will be driven by huge advances in the ability to process the data gleaned from the sensors through artificial intelligence (AI) from IBM’s Watson and Microsoft, among others.
“There is a tremendous amount of data being produced by IoT sensors. It is a gold mine for those who can mine it,” MacLeod said. “With AI in conjunction with IoT, a lot of those veins of gold are going to be exposed. They will be able to do a lot of things with it.”
The backbone needed to achieve the potential of IoT lies in advances the communications infrastructure industry, including the 5G protocol, more fiber-optic backhaul, and 10s of millions of sensors planted everywhere.
A new version of the internet protocol, Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPV6), has been developed for this vision of IoT to become a reality. The current platform, Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPV4), has limits in terms of the number of web addresses it can handle. The internet of the future will have increased security and an almost unlimited supply of addresses to accommodate all of the sensors and sensor networks.
“IPV6 is a huge step forward,” MacLeod said. “The internet has to change too in order to handle the number of URLs and traffic needed for IoT. It needs a huge platform.”
The 5G protocol, which supports the enhanced mobile broadband and low latency, as well as massive IoT, is due out in 2020. Nearly 50 percent of fixed and mobile internet traffic will run on IPV6 by 2020 on a global basis, according to Cisco’s forecast. By 2021, there will be 4.6 billion global internet users and a far greater number, 27.1 billion, of networked devices and connections, the OEM said.
“The advent of 5G, IoT and AI will open up tremendous, tremendous opportunities for new entrepreneurs and new business lines,” MacLeod said.
Jake MacLeod, Gray Beards Consulting, will give the afternoon keynote, “The Internet of Things — Buckle Up for the Ride!” at the AGL Local Summit, Oct. 24, in Fort Worth, Texas.
J. Sharpe Smith is senior editor of the AGL eDigest. He joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 27 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.