The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term IoT was proposed by Kevin Ashton in 1999 though the concept has been discussed since the early 90’s.

The concept of automated tagging of objects using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) was seen as a prerequisite during the evolutionary stages of IoT. More recently a multitude of other technologies have evolved such as near field communication, barcodes, QR codes and digital watermarking. These emerging technologies allow a lower cost and more flexible solution.

A key aim of IoT is to be able to transform daily life in several ways. For example, such technology could enable content creators and owners to better manage their digital rights, so a customer purchasing a digital movie could choose to pay a higher fee and be able to watch the movie for a whole year, pay a moderate fee and have the right to watch the movie for a week, or pay a lower fee to watch the movie just once.

Today however, the term Internet of Things has evolved to denote advanced connectivity of devices, systems and services that goes beyond the traditional machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and covers a variety of protocols, domains and applications.

According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the IoT network by 2020. According to ABI Research, more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT network, sometimes also known as Internet of Everything (IoE). Regardless of which research you prefer, as with the Internet, it is clear that IoT will have a significant impact on all our everyday lives in the foreseeable future.

There is general consensus amongst technology experts that significant IoT-driven disruptive innovation will continue, even if they disagree on its degree and ultimate ramifications. Galbraith & Co. suggest that every organisation that interacts with either people or objects should monitor the evolution of IoT closely and determine its potential impact upon their business operations.

There are clear signs that IoT devices and applications are already emerging in a wide variety of locations, including:


Many people will wear devices that let them connect to the Internet and will give them feedback on their activities, health and fitness. They will also monitor others (their children or employees, for instance) who are also wearing sensors, or moving in and out of places that have sensors.

People will be able to control nearly everything remotely, from how their residences are heated and cooled to how often their gardens are watered. Homes will also have sensors that warn about everything from prowlers to broken water pipes.


Embedded devices and smartphone apps will enable more efficient transportation and give readouts on pollution levels. Smart systems might deliver electricity and water more efficiently and warn about infrastructure problems.

Goods and Services

Factories and supply chains will have sensors and readers that more precisely track materials to speed up and smooth out the manufacture and distribution of goods.


There will be real-time readings from fields, forests, oceans, and cities about pollution levels, soil moisture, and resource extraction that allow for closer monitoring of problems.

Our research indicates that, in the foreseeable future, IOT networks will:

  • Deliver a ubiquitous global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment transparently linking the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases;
  • Disrupt many existing and emerging business models; and
  • Provide automated tagging and analytic mapping of physical, logical, and social domains.

Galbraith & Co. closely monitor the rapidly evolving trends, technologies, and applications. In conjunction with our technology partners, we provide on-going insight, strategy and programs to our clients that deliver optimal outcomes to counter threats or gain competitive advantage.


Galbraith & Company is a professional advisory firm that provides advice, strategy, programs and services that focus specifically on productivity and innovation across the digital economy.

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