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Technology & innovation - What’s your “connected” number?

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John Stineman is a West Des Moines-based consultant and executive director of the Heartland Technology Alliance. 

A recent analysis in PC Advisor shows that about 2.5 billion people (that’s billion with a “b”) worldwide use the Internet. That’s out of 7 billion. Those are big numbers.

At a recent tech conference, I heard a presenter from Microsoft say that there are now 1.4 connected devices for each person in the world. That’s nearly 10 billion connected devices. Now that’s a really big number.

It starts to get really interesting when you look at the small numbers.

Let’s take a look at the tech essentials in my family’s connected world: smartphones (2), tablets (3), laptops (2), desktop (1), e-reader (1), smart tv (1), smart set-top boxes (2), iPod (1). That’s thirteen for a family of four (two of whom are under the age of ten) – that’s 3.25 per person. And growing.

Those are the things we readily see as connected. What else? Well, for starters, the satellite set-top for our televisions (3), our security system (1) and our gas and electric utility has a connection (1). That’s five more.

What does the future look like? A lot more.

Connected refrigerators (these are already available in stores), connected home surveillance cameras (startup dropcam is aggressively advertising a low-cost solution), connected “household management” services and devices that manage the thermostat, lights and locks, and so on down the line. Cameras are being sold with a 4G connection. Connected cars are on the horizon that not only have Bluetooth connections, but have their own mobile connection. The consumer potential alone is huge, not to mention what it means for commerce (that’ll be a future post).

No wonder mobile Internet traffic is projected to increase 300% by 2017. That’s a good thing, as long as we create an environment that fosters more network build-out than we have today.

So, what’s your connectivity footprint? I’m guessing it’s greater than 1.4.

-John Stineman


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