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Will start-ups get the IoT ball rolling?

Today, about 6.5 billion ‘things’ are connected to the Internet. And while this sounds like a lot, less than 1% of all the things that could be connected, are. New reports by large market research companies have set the number of connected ‘things’ to grow to 50 billion by 2020 – e.g see here.

These new reports argue that only the surface of what IoT can achieve has been scratched, and industry and government must be prepared to help this emerging technology succeed.

New reports also suggest that the IoT roll-out is behind schedule, and going slower than expected. Some reports say that the projected numbers of 50 billion connected IoT devices are not going to be hit until 2030, or never at all.

So where are we at with the IoT train? Is the train going slower than expected? Can we speed it up?

So we’ve all agreed that eventually there will be billions of IoT connected devices, but the industry heads and government leaders need to get off debating these numbers now, and set their minds to “open”, to speed things up.

The industry and Government leaders need to be prepared to back the new ideas in, and they have to accept that they can’t rely on their fellow big company colleagues to build the IoT products. It’s up to start-ups to do most of the tough work. But why?

The cartoon above explains why. We’ve slightly adapted this old cartoon of corporate culture vs start-up culture, that has been around for a while.

The explanation of the cartoon is as follows; large corporates are too busy with their existing core business and core activities to be able to devote time, resources and money to R&D to build the new IoT products - they're just spinning their wheels.

The large corporates are also too busy in the debate if IoT is going to go off or not. And they’re also generally doing too well with what they have now, with too much control, and too good margins, to bother to develop IoT products that they fear may actually cannibalize their existing products like what happened to Kodak– see the old Kodak story here.

So its left to start-ups to get in there and build the IoT products and speed up the IoT train. It is start-ups that will really get the IoT ball rolling. But we the start-ups can't get the ball rolling without the Industry and government heads support.

The Industry and government heads need to quickly get a crash course in start-up culture, and back the start-ups to ensure that IoT doesn’t turn into a giant rock that constantly needs pushing up a hill with one person, and instead turns into a giant snowball that rolls down hills with ease, gathering more partners, connections and interfacing products as it goes along.

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