Bigger than the cloud?

I have a colleague that says that IoT will be bigger than the cloud. Depending on how you slice it, the statement is true. A Business Insider article from January 2019 says more than 64 billion devices by 2025. That is a lot of programmable things going around. Each of them needs to be managed, secured, and updated. It is a lot of work. This is a new kind of work for most of us in software.

Of course, all of these new devices will need to be managed from somewhere, and that somewhere is the cloud. IoT will drive cloud adoption further into manufacturing than it is today. Cloud is the only way for most companies to manage the scale and distribution that IoT provides. In that sense, the cloud will be bigger than IoT to encompass all of the new information flying around.

Having an IoT strategy without a cloud strategy is unworkable for any but the biggest players: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. It is also interesting to note that three of the companies that I thought to list are cloud providers, and all have consumer IoT devices. The ability to scale to handle IoT is not possible for many companies without using a cloud provider. So, the cloud is a prerequisite for most mortals.

All of this said, my friend makes a great point about IoT being bigger than the cloud. The cloud is only meaningful to those of us in technology. I have never met someone that uses technology and cares about what cloud platform a company uses. Cloud, by its nature, is invisible. IoT is the inverse. 
It will affect our lives. At its heart, IoT is about putting logic in places it has never been. Cars, lights, cameras, and doorbells, to name a few things, are now accessible little processing devices. This is a profound change.

While the cloud may or may not be bigger in terms of technical needs and challenges, IoT is more important. It will change the world. My colleague is right about that.


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