Who would have thought that ‘IoT’ would ever reach the vaunted status of having its own holiday, but today we’ll take a moment to celebrate annual IoT Day!

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Only a few years ago, the ‘Internet of Things’ was primarily an idea on PowerPoint slides, and most of the IoT innovation was happening in the maker communities. While makers continue to put forth important new ideas and approaches, the IoT has gone mainstream among manufacturers as well. For validation of the perceived potential of the IoT, look no further than the recent announcements by industry giants IBM and Facebook about their serious IoT plays.

The rate of connection of new ‘things’ to the IoT is staggering. For example, in late 2014, BI Intelligence posted a chart showing the rate of connectivity of everything from PCs and smartphones to connected TVs, wearables, and the devices typically considered part of the IoT. In an often-quoted prediction, the World Economic Forum estimated: “By 2020 there will be 50 billion networked devices.” At the 2014 Mobile World Congress, a panel of executives from Huawei, ZTE, ARM, Sierra Wireless, Ubuntu and Freescale agreed: “The 50 billion number is probably conservative.”

Beyond the numbers and the market validation from big companies committing to this space, there’s also our first-hand experience of growing IoT acceptance and adoption. At Ayla we’ve seen our customer base expand well beyond tech-savvy early adopters into manufacturing sectors such as water heaters, air conditioners, home appliances and lights. By offering a comprehensive, end-to-end yet highly flexible IoT platform, we help traditionally ‘unconnected’ product manufacturers jump-start their participation in the IoT so they can enjoy all the benefits of connectivity.

IoT connectivity enables closed-loop feedback on devices and their operation, as well as on consumer preferences. With this real-world data, manufacturers can make better decisions about:

  • maintenance (what are the points of failure? when is a part getting close to needing replacement?)
  • warranty information (what’s the average life of a product or its parts?)
  • innovations that lead to better products over time (what features are customers using, and which aren’t being used? where are my customers located? how often do they use the product?)

The global ecosystem for the IoT that’s emerging now will allow a broad spectrum of companies to develop, deliver and continually improve connected devices for all kinds of consumer, commercial and industrial markets.

So as we head out to celebrate IoT Day, we’ll make a toast to all that our customers have accomplished this year—and what’s in store for the rest of 2015. If the market keeps growing like it is today, we’ll have some great stories to swap at next year’s IoT Day celebration. Cheers!