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IoT forging new pathways to innovation

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The combination of improved connectivity, advances in sensors, ubiquitous cloud storage, and powerful analytics has proved to be a recipe for success for the Internet of Things (IoT) across a diverse range of applications. There is scarcely a business sector that is not using IoT to monitor, improve, or predict performance. Among the leading uses is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which includes manufacturing, utilities, energy production, and transportation. Following closely is the use of IoT in healthcare. Uptake is strong in both the private and public sectors, including government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the overall global IoT market is projected to grow from $478 billion in 2022 to $2,465 billion by 2029, reflecting an annual growth rate of 26% per year. The IIoT market is assessed at $197 billion per year by IDC, with transportation accounting for $71 billion. Another sector, medical devices, is expected to grow from $2.65 billion in 2021 to $94.2 billion in 2026, showing an annual growth rate of nearly 30%, according to MarketsandMarkets.

The numbers across and within industry sectors are not comparable because some include just the sensors, while some include a platform or an entire system. An estimate of medical IoT that is not limited to devices was $41 billion in 2020 and is predicted to grow to $187 billion by 2028. And according to Straits Research, the worldwide market for IoT in healthcare has reached nearly $100 billion and is expected to grow at about 20% per year during the next 8 years. What all these estimates have in common, though, is that they contain large numbers and predict very robust growth rates.

One reason the markets are enjoying such rapid growth is that IoT is a very effective technology. The metrics that show the impact of IoT implementations are easy to come by in certain industries. For example, smart building meters and other devices can save 10%–40% in energy costs, depending on the system being affected. In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the ability to carry out predictive maintenance resulting from the use of IoT devices provides an impressive array of additional savings, reducing maintenance costs by 25%–30% and decreasing breakdowns by 70%–75%. These results support very strong ROIs.

Even in fields such as healthcare where IoT benefits may be more difficult to quantify, early detection of problems resulting from monitoring of vital signs and other health indicators reduces the length of hospital stays, improves outcomes, and reduces costs. Considering that 75% of the $2.2 trillion spent in the U.S. each year on healthcare is used to treat patients with chronic diseases, savings from better management of the health of this group can be considerable.

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