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@ThingsExpo: Article

Who Will Pay for the Internet of Things?

The Three Big Components Depend On One Another

Stupendous projections for the value of the IoT have been thrown about this year. Trillions of dollars of value are said to be in play.

Great, but who will pay for all of this? To get a handle on this question, we can start by looking at the nature of the IoT.

The other day I mentioned the IoT's three big components: wearables, M2M, and smart grids. They can be seen as separate elements, each with its own world of hardware manufacturing, software development, and deployment to enterprises on the one hand; consumers on the other; and government and NGOs.

M2M is expected to generate 70 to 80% of the coming zettabytes of annual internet traffic - much of this dataflow will be hyperlocal, and all of it will be contained within a manufacturing facility or supply chain. Wearables will be things like fancier heart monitors for joggers, Dick Tracy watches, and less risible versions of Google Glass. Smart grids will eliminate traffic jams, slash energy bills, and reverse global warming.

A Complex Scene
That's a highly simplified picture of the real IoT, of course. A lot of M2M traffic will flow along those traffic grids, for example. Wearables will include any number of little beacons that will work with grids to speed up things like shopping, entrance to events, and flying. And the grids in and of themselves are not going to be a universal solvent to any of our problems.

The three components are also highly dependent on one another. The wearables market won't last long if good connectivity is not available. Yet ubiquitous, high-speed grids will need ubiquitous wearables to justify investments. We remember dark fiber, right? (Much of it is still there, waiting to be lit.)

Adding to this the challenge of making sense of the welter of ways to communicate among machines, particularly in close quarters. The need for standards is an evergreen in the technology industry, and has never been more confusing than with today's nascent IoT. There are already several standards organizations led by big technology companies who invariably push the tried-and-true my way or the highway approach to creating "de facto" standards.

So Who Will Pay Whom?
Funding from all this looks to be as complex as the global economy itself. Wearables will be funded by consumers, M2M by business and to some extent government. The grids will be a combination of significant in-building infrastructure, with costs borne by developers and ultimately by tenants; continuous telco growth serving consumers and enterprises; and massive public works projects that may ultimately need tricky public-private partnerships to be built.

Pesky voter approval may come into play for much of the grid infrastructure funding. In the developing world, a large measure of NGO and CSR (corporate social responsibility) funding will be added into the funding mix, whether healthcare-focused wearables, educational outreach programs, or grids.

I've got my mind focused immediately on the upcoming @ThingsExpo, for which I serve as Conference Chair, and long-term on a project I call IoT2040, which covers what I think is a reasonable timeframe to achieve significant progress with the IoT.

Contact Me on Twitter

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3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California with over 100 major sponsors and exhibitors in 2014 and more than 6,000 delegates from 17 countries.

Internet of @ThingsExpo this week launched the premiere issue of its monthly newsletter which contains highlights of the hottest sessions and speakers from Internet of @ThingsExpo, speaking information as well as sponsorship opportunities.

Download @ThingsExpo Newsletter ▸ Here

Chris Matthieu Named Internet of @ThingsExpo Tech Chair
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley.

The 2nd Global Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.

Chris Matthieu has two decades of telecom and web experience. He launched his Teleku cloud communications-as-a-service platform at eComm in 2010, which was acquired by Voxeo. Next he built an open source Node.JS PaaS called Nodester, which was acquired by AppFog. His new startup is Twelephone ( Leveraging HTML5 and WebRTC, Twelephone's BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to become the next generation telecom company running in the Web browser.

Tracks and topics for Internet of Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley will include:

Consumer IoT and Wearables Track

  • Smart Appliances
  • Wearables
  • Smart Cars
  • Smartphones 2.0
  • Smart Travel
  • Personal Fitness
  • Health Care
  • Personalized Marketing
  • Customized Shopping
  • Personal Finance
  • The Digital Divide
  • Mobile Cash & Markets
  • Games & the IoT
  • The Future of Education
  • Virtual Reality

Video: @ThingsExpo power panel discussion at Internet of @ThingsExpo New York

Enterprise IoT Track
  • The Business Case for IoT
  • Smart Grids
  • Smart Cities
  • Smart Transportation
  • The Smart Home
  • M2M
  • Authentication/Security
  • Wiring the IoT
  • The Internet of Everything
  • Digital Transformation of Enterprise IT
  • Agriculture
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • Local & State Government
  • Federal Government

IoT Developer and WebRTC Track

  • Eclipse Foundation
  • Cloud Foundry
  • Linux Containers
  • Node-Red
  • Open Source Hardware
  • AJAX and the IoT
  • Leveraging SOA
  • Multi-Cloud IoT
  • Evolving Standards
  • WebSockets
  • Security & Privacy Protocols
  • GPS & Proximity Services
  • Bluetooth/RFID/etc.
  • XMPP
  • Nest Labs

@ThingsExpo billboard is viewed by more than 1.3 million motorists per week on Highway 101, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Sponsorship Opportunities or Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley

Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley "show prospectus" has shipped. Sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities can be obtained from Carmen Gonzalez by email at events (at), or by phone 201 802-3021.

Early Bird Registration Options 
Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley
Internet of @ThingsExpo delegates can pre-register for Internet of @ThingsExpo with Early Bird Savings here.

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media ( has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream at - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (, Big Data Expo (, Virtualization Conference & Expo (, DevOps Summit (, Internet of @ThingsExpo (, SDDC Expo (, WebRTC Summit (, Government IT Conference & Expo (, Cloud Computing Bootcamp (, and UlitzerLive! New Media Conference & Expo (

Cloud Expo® is a registered trademark of Cloud Expo, Inc.

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.

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