New Study of the Pervasive Computing and Intelligent Device Networking Opportunity

Aug. 1, 2003
BOSTON, MA and SAN FRANCISCO, CA, -- By the year 2010, everyday devices that talk with and control each other across the globe, with no human intervention,

BOSTON, MA and SAN FRANCISCO, CA, -- By the year 2010, everyday devices that talk with and control each other across the globe, with no human intervention, will be so common that it will seem unbelievable that we once lived in a world full of "smart" products whose intelligence was trapped inside their own enclosures.

That is one of several far-reaching conclusions of a major new study of the adoption climate for Internet-based device networking and global business automation, announced today by Harbor Research, Inc.

The study, entitled "The Pervasive Internet Opportunity," shows that major potential adopters are well aware of the vast market-intelligence and service-delivery opportunities that will be opened up by the Internet connection and remote monitoring of their products.

"For the new study, we surveyed or directly interviewed over 700 business and technology leaders in the U.S. and Europe," said Glen Allmendinger, President of Harbor Research. "They no longer need to hear the case for device networking. They know perfectly well that this is where they're going. Now they want to understand how to get there. Privacy and security are big issues, of course, but most executives take it on faith that the technical things will get worked out. The business issues concern them more."

"The old dot-com slogan 'the Internet changes everything' turns out to be more true than people thought back when they were saying it," Mr. Allmendinger continued. "A totally connected world means enterprise interdepencies the likes of which we've never seen. Nobody 'goes it alone' in a digital economy. Soon you will do business based upon real-time access to information from manufactured objects that could be located anywhere. Creating 'business webs' of carefully chosen alliances has always been a good idea. Now it's life and death."

Harbor's study forecasts large and rapid growth of device networking and machine-to-machine (M2M) adoption, but with widely varying scenarios across various market venues. By 2010, trillions of devices will be connected to the Internet and autonomously communicating with each other and with enterprise systems night and day. Their data will create enormous business opportunities, the most significant of which will relate to global enterprise automation.

"The 'killer apps' of the Pervasive Internet will be supply chain integration, asset optimization, and security," said Mr. Allmendinger. "The big action will be in bringing the enterprise into the 21st century –- automating and optimizing business processes and functions. Other types of opportunities, such as home automation, are also important, particularly because of their potentially huge volumes. But it's the enterprise-critical innovations that will make the Pervasive Internet the hottest tech news since the PC itself."

"Quite a few companies have already put their toes in the water of device networking," Mr. Allmendinger noted. "Many others will follow in short order, thanks to the momentum provided by rapidly evolving open standards and dependable product interoperability. Quite soon, major corporations all around the world will look down and see that everybody has their toes in the water, and then there's going to be a very, very big splash in the pool. A tidal wave of a splash, in fact."


The full title of Harbor's new study is: "The Pervasive Internet Opportunity: A Study of the Adoption Climate, Technology Issues, and Business Opportunities Arising from the Convergence of Intelligent Device Networking, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication, and the Internet."

Key aspects of the study:

--Survey respondents and direct interviews numbered over 700, including detailed analysis of adoption behaviors.

--Analysis of adoption progress covered a greater number of participants in each market venue than ever before.

--Significant new analysis of customer cases and broader coverage of suppliers than ever before.

--"Pervasive Internet Opportunity" brochure.

--"Venue Segmentation Map for Intelligent Device Networking." This popular one-page Harbor diagram breaks the Pervasive Internet down by vertical markets, service opportunities, and examples of connected devices.

"Device Networking Hierarchy." This one-page diagram places Internet-connected products along a "device-centric" - "human-centric" continuum, indicates the potential functions of each type of device, and suggests what adoption numbers are likely to look like in 2005:

ABOUT THE PERVASIVE INTERNET The "Pervasive Internet" is Harbor Research's term for the use of the Internet to network, monitor, and analyze everyday electronic and electro-mechanical products and devices. The social and business implications will include optimization and automation of almost every enterprise function, integration and full visibility of the supply chain, predictive maintenance and other new modes of customer service, and dramatically enhanced enterprise efficiency and profitability.

Harbor Research, Inc. has been a leader in providing strategic consulting and research services to leaders in communications, computing, control, and content since 1983.