[Décryptage] What revolution is behind the Internet of Things?
24 billion. This is the number of devices that could be directly connected to each other by 2020, according to the forecasts from the Association GSMA. A figure that quickly makes you dizzy and that hardly lets one imagine all the consequences that could result from what some do not hesitate to qualify as “the revolution of the 21st century. “
If the market has not really taken off yet, the first connected gadgets are starting to multiply. Enough to listen to Loïc and Géraldine Le Meur, who recently announced that “The Internet of things” will be the next theme around which the conference will take place. The Paris Web, on December 4, 5 and 6.
Concrete applications, technologies, consequences, issues… If the Internet of Things is on the rise, the concept is still very vague today. FrenchWeb therefore offers you some explanations.
From gadgets to big data
Launched around fifteen years ago under the name M2M – for Machine to Machine – the Internet of Things first appeared in a BtoB logic. Manufacturers then developed various connectors, particularly for tracking purposes. At the time, each connected object was based on its own technological structure. The very good returns on investments then made it possible to propel the Internet of Things into a general public dimension. “The opening of the Internet of Things has essentially been done through the prism of the apartment” specifies Ludovic Le Moan, CEO of Sigfox, which recently raised 10M euros.
From there, series of connected gadgets, more or less useful, have appeared. This ranges from a simple smart bracelet, to automatic shutters, including flower pots that tweet when the plants need water, or the very practical connected keychain. The Internet of Things is also the refrigerator that automatically tells you what ingredients are missing and your washing machine that automatically contacts the manufacturer when a part needs to be changed. In short, The Internet of things (IoT) should radically change the organization of our daily lives.
A market estimated at more than a billion billion dollars by 2012
Beyond these practical developments, the Internet of Things could prove to be of great use in the field of health but also in environmental matters. The IoT allows, in fact, to enter directly into the world of big data: “By aggregating billions of data, we will be able to multiply forecasts and therefore optimize the management of natural resources”, explains Ludovic Le Moal.
The circulation of all this new information also raises the question of the underlying technologies. According to Ludovic Le Moal, there are currently three different global technologies allowing objects to be connected directly to each other: the most expensive is based on satellites, the second on GSM systems and the last on unlicensed frequency bands.
Called UBN (ultra narrow band), this technology patented by Sigfox, combines, with very few antennas, a very long transmission range and a drastic reduction in energy consumption. However, according to Jean Luc Beylat, President of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs France, other devices should gradually emerge: “we will therefore certainly not talk about monotechnology”. The winning technologies will nevertheless have to combine several characteristics: be comprehensive, easy to use, low energy consumption and available at low cost.
These key elements will then allow democratization of the Internet of Things. “One can very well imagine that within 5 to 10 years consumers will go directly to buy their sensors from Castorama” explains Jean Luc Beylat. The idea is to come up with a real “Do it yourself” spirit. “The explosion of the Internet of Things should be similar to that of social networks”, he believes, “the new technology could then contaminate all sectors and thus open the doors to enormous potential.”
According to the association GSMA, the market for connected objects, and all the new services and applications that result from it, could weigh close to a billion billion dollars by 2012.