As the ultimate marketplace for consumer technology, the International CES® brings together thousands of innovators each January in Las Vegas to present designs and ideas for the devices that connect, inform and entertain consumers. CES has always showcased the next frontier of our digital world, from early video game consoles to the very first digital televisions. At CES, we have experienced the evolution of computing and the introduction of thousands of digital devices that have reshaped our daily lives.

Today, we are increasingly digitizing everyday objects – from appliances, to surfboards, to autonomous vehicles, to metrics around our own bodies. We’re embedding sensors in thousands of new devices, allowing us to digitally capture information in a way that accelerates the flow of this information to other people, services and devices. This is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), the networked connection of physical objects and one of the many technology transitions creating greater value for organizations that embrace the Internet of Everything (IoE).

IoE CES blog image

The number of ‘things’ connected to the Internet surpassed the number of people on the planet in 2008. And Cisco predicts the number of connected things will grow to between 15 and 25 billion by 2015, before exploding to 40 or 50 billion by 2020. Another eye-popping estimate from Cisco: that 50-billion total predicted for 2020 would represent only four percent of the ‘things’ on earth, a far cry from the 99-percent connectivity we may one day realize. As things add capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power, and energy independence, and as more people and new types of information are connected, IoT becomes an Internet of Everything — a network of networks where billions or even trillions of connections create boundless opportunities for businesses, individuals and countries.

Smartphones and tablets are proven, fundamental building blocks of the Internet of Everything. Two-thirds of online U.S. adults own a smartphone and 43 percent own a tablet, according to CEA market research. Yet just three years ago, almost no households owned a tablet, and smartphone ownership was well below today’s levels. This large, installed base of mobile devices has opened up new avenues for other devices to piggyback off of their feature sets – from the display to the processing power to the cellular and Wi-Fi connections, creating comprehensive, commercially-viable connected networks.

Device makers are leveraging mobile devices to connect things to the Internet that were previously unimaginable, like keys, coffee pots, thermostats and health and fitness monitors. And as these devices get smaller, faster and more affordable, their market penetration is poised to take off. There is a tremendous amount of experimentation taking place today. What was once technically difficult and not commercially viable because of cost and size is quickly becoming both technically and commercial feasible. CES thrives at the core of this experimentation.

It is critical to note that IoE is about more than just technology, it’s about people, and the value of IoE will not come by just connecting physical things, but by successfully routing the data these connected things generate to the right person, at the right time, and on the right device, to make better decisions. We are increasingly surrounded by billions of connections; providing these connection points with intelligence will, in turn, influence everything we do.

Naturally, many issues related to IoE still need to be addressed such as reliability, security, privacy and control of the now digitally available data. Thankfully, CES provides an ideal venue to examine and explore such essential considerations. We hope you plan to join us next week.

Portions of this post were excerpted from DuBravac’s “A Hundred Billion Nodes” report in Five Technology Trends to Watch.


Shawn DuBravac

Chief Economist and Senior Director of Research

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®