Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal, @ThingsExpo

Cloud Expo: Article

Economics and the "Internet of Things"

The Internet of Things Can Transform the World. Right?

I look at the IoT as having three great components: M2M, wearables, and grids. The components can also be seen (roughly) as enterprise, personal, and government/organizational.

I'll examine each area in follow-up articles. I'll start with the third, as it applies to research I've been conducting for the past three years and dovetails with the very high-level view of the IoT being taken by the largest technology companies in the world.

And I'm looking forward to discussing issues great and small with all in attendance at the upcoming @ThingsExpo, for which I serve as Conference Chair.

A Dismal Look
Smart grids, cities, and nations hold transformational potential, especially but exclusively for the developing world. It that holds the promise of fixing the millenium-old human problems of poverty, disease, violence, and poor leadership.

Right?

To examine the IoT's potential to transform society means starting with a big-picture look at economics, or the "dismal science," as it's lovingly known by its practitioners.

Global economics is not a zero-sum game, although it can feel that way when a competitor is eating your lunch. It can also look that way when comparing the extremes of the wealth of nations.

But I think the IoT can not only solve a particular company's problems but is also the key to long-term, fair-minded global economic growth and societal development.

A Brief History
We've come a long way since Adam Smith's first articulated his principles of enlightened self-interest and an "invisible hand" that guides economic development without the need for government regulation or intervention. Even seemingly altruistic acts are ultimately done with a personal, self-centered goal in mind, in this view.

The Keynesian revolution (ie, government stimulation is desirable) followed by a few decades of increasingly scientific, mathematically inclined studies of societies and their economics has led to much re-interpretation of Smith's original thinking.

Recent economic developments, led by Joseph Stiglitz and centered around the power of "information asymmetry" can lead to almost the opposite conclusion; there's nothing enlightened about self-interest, people with an upper hand won't play fair, and only tough, enforceable government regulation can address it, in this view.

Ha Joon-Chang is another modern-day economist who, in essence, thinks the developed world is not playing fair as developing nations struggle to lift their way out of poverty. I interviewed him a few years ago.

On a separate tangent, Dambisa Moyo (pictured) is another modern-day economist who has taken the controversial stance that altruism is, in fact, damaging to the people it ostensibly tries to help.

Does IT Matter?
Meanwhile, it's been more than 30 years since the personal computer entered the scene in a big way.

Yet to this day, academic research on "IT economics" seems sparse. Even though so many of us in the industry believe in the rising tide of technology that lifts all boats, and utopian dreams flow out of Silicon Valley and its mimickers with each new gadget or app, it's hard to find pure research that connects the dots between the aggressive use of technology, economic development, and societal progress.

There's plenty of history at this point. The 80s were famous for $1 trillion worth of PC sales, with no apparent productivity increase in the global economy. The 90s showed that the benefits of this technology took awhile to become apparent; they did become apparent once widely connected to networks and with the invention of the Worldwide Web.

The 2000s were a disaster, with the dot-com meltdown, the post-Y2K technology recession, the Great Recession, and war disaster by the US. Even so, enterprise IT-including tens of millions of personal computers sold each year-rose by the end of the decade to several trillions of dollars.

Now, as we progress through the second decade of the 21st century, we see cloud computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things. It's time for economists to study the "IT effect" with rigor.

As a non-academic with perhaps just enough graduate school experience to be dangerous, I won't be the person who seizes this field of study and emerges as the Joseph Steiglitz of IT economics. But to paraphrase the Dennis Hopper character in True Romance, I find this stuff to be fascinating.

Relatively Speaking
Our research at the Tau Institute is socio-economic in nature, but as of yet lays out no grand theories.

We abide by the principle that technology is not only inevitable but inevitably good for the human species; though Google Glass today is seen as having great comedic value, the same twitters could be heard (well before Twitter) with images of people lugging around computers, talking on wireless phones, and seeking hotspots.

The big caveat, of course, is that our political and societal leaders don't abuse the wonders of technological progress. Wishful thinking, perhaps.

Yet the net gain to the world economy brought by personal computing devices is enormous. Mobile phones are the only way to communicate in much of the developing world, and are also used as virtual banks. Mobile computers in the developed world have surely reduced the number of people-an therefore, congestion--showing up to work every day in central cities.

Wireless connectivity has freed people to work and access information from almost wherever they choose, and it's cut down on the time people watch television-a development that cannot, on the whole, be deleterious.

(More to come in future postings!)

Contact Me on Twitter

Follow @ThingsExpo on Twitter

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile ...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness,...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. ...
Vormetric on Wednesday announced the results of its 2015 Insider Threat Report (ITR), conducted online on their behalf by Harris Poll and in conjunction with analyst firm Ovum in fall 2014 among 818 IT decision makers in various countries, including 408 in the United States. The report details striking findings around how U.S. and international enterprises perceive security threats, the types of employees considered most dangerous, environments at the greatest risk for data loss and the steps or...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP ...
Storage administrators find themselves walking a line between meeting employees’ demands to use public cloud storage services, and their organizations’ need to store information on-premises for security, performance, cost and compliance reasons. However, as file sharing protocols like CIFS and NFS continue to lose their relevance, simply relying only on a NAS-based environment creates inefficiencies that hurt productivity and the bottom line. IT wants to implement cloud storage it can purchase a...
Cloud Technology Partners on Wednesday announced it has been recognized by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards as one of the Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Consulting Partners. Selected by the editors of TechTarget's SearchDataCenter.com, and by votes from customers and strategic channel partners, the companies acknowledged by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards represent the top providers of cloud consulting services for AWS including application migration, application development, inf...
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Software AG and Wipro Ltd. have announced a joint solution platform for streaming analytics that provides real-time actionable intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT) market. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said John Bates, Global Head of Industry Solutions and CMO, Software AG. To address the huge market potential created by streaming analytics in conj...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by minin...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...