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Pew Research: What the Internet of Things will look like

The volume of talk around the Internet of Things (IoT) has been on the rise for at least the past year. It seems like every vendor is explaining it, touting it and advising channel partners to get onboard for the umpteen opportunities that are there for those who do.

Well, a recent survey offers some perspective on the IoT.

Last week, the Pew Research Center released a hefty report titled “The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025” — the latest research in an on-going effort in 2014 marking the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee.

This current report, and third report in the series of eight by Pew Research and Elon University, is an analysis of “experts’ opinions” about the likely expansion of the IoT, defined as a catchall phrase for numerous devices, appliances, vehicles, wearable material and sensor-laden parts of the environment that are interconnected and feeding data back and forth, according to Pew Research.

Cisco estimated there were 13 billion Internet-connected devices in 2013, a figure that’s expected to reach 50 billion by 2020.

The report focuses on six themes:

1. The IoT will progress significantly between now and 2025.

2. An IoT-laden world raises substantial concerns about privacy and people’s abilities to control their own lives.

3. Information interfaces will advance but few expect brain-to-network connectivity by 2025.

4. The IoT will result in complicated and unintended consequences where many things will not work and nobody will know how to fix them.

5. Not everyone will want to be digitally connected, creating a digital divide between these who do and those who don’t.

6. The IoT and individual and organizational responses to it will change the relationships that people have with each another and with groups.

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