The technological and economic potential of the IoT
The Internet of Things is bringing a massive change to industry and society. By connecting everyday objects – and embedding intelligence in them – we are given unprecedented control over our surroundings. In turn, that will lead to major efficiency gains.
A recent McKinsey study predicts that the IoT’s market value will amount to $11.1 trillion by 2025. The impact of the IoT will be felt everywhere: in rural villages and urban centers; and in every economic sector – from transportation and logistics to medicine, manufacturing and food production. It will optimize business systems, enable asset tracking and facilitate cost-saving predictive maintenance in machine parks.
“It is expected that especially in the domains of manufacturing and logistics, the impact of the IoT will be profound,” says Thomas Kallstenius, Director Research & Innovation at iMinds. “Applying the IoT to those sectors will allow companies to more efficiently monitor and control machines, and better capture the status and the flow of goods or materials through plants, distribution centers, etc. In this sense, the connected devices that make up the IoT become an active part of companies’ business processes and also a cornerstone for novel, disruptive business models.”
But the impact of the IoT will also be felt at home – making household environments highly adaptable, for example by boosting the volume of the stereo automatically when the dishwasher is running, or quieting the TV when someone picks up the phone. Or consider the impact in the health and care sectors, with intelligent robots walking around semi-autonomously in nursing homes and interacting personally with different residents as a useful support tool for nurses and caregivers.
How the Internet of Things will impact the way in which we live and work in Flanders
Already today, Flanders has a healthy, lively and innovative IoT industry – featuring a mix of start-ups, SMEs and larger multinationals. Without ignoring the other potential application domains, iMinds believes that the IoT will especially have an impact on the Flemish manufacturing industry – which represents approximately 7% of export revenues and more than 500,000 jobs. And while it is clear that the whole industry will have to adapt to the new realities (and the new ways of working) that are brought by the IoT, lots of new opportunities will arise as well – taking the outputs of this industry domain to a whole new level.