Welcome!

@BigDataExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Economics and the "Internet of Things"

The Internet of Things Can Transform the World. Right?

I look at the IoT as having three great components: M2M, wearables, and grids. The components can also be seen (roughly) as enterprise, personal, and government/organizational.

I'll examine each area in follow-up articles. I'll start with the third, as it applies to research I've been conducting for the past three years and dovetails with the very high-level view of the IoT being taken by the largest technology companies in the world.

And I'm looking forward to discussing issues great and small with all in attendance at the upcoming @ThingsExpo, for which I serve as Conference Chair.

A Dismal Look
Smart grids, cities, and nations hold transformational potential, especially but exclusively for the developing world. It that holds the promise of fixing the millenium-old human problems of poverty, disease, violence, and poor leadership.

Right?

To examine the IoT's potential to transform society means starting with a big-picture look at economics, or the "dismal science," as it's lovingly known by its practitioners.

Global economics is not a zero-sum game, although it can feel that way when a competitor is eating your lunch. It can also look that way when comparing the extremes of the wealth of nations.

But I think the IoT can not only solve a particular company's problems but is also the key to long-term, fair-minded global economic growth and societal development.

A Brief History
We've come a long way since Adam Smith's first articulated his principles of enlightened self-interest and an "invisible hand" that guides economic development without the need for government regulation or intervention. Even seemingly altruistic acts are ultimately done with a personal, self-centered goal in mind, in this view.

The Keynesian revolution (ie, government stimulation is desirable) followed by a few decades of increasingly scientific, mathematically inclined studies of societies and their economics has led to much re-interpretation of Smith's original thinking.

Recent economic developments, led by Joseph Stiglitz and centered around the power of "information asymmetry" can lead to almost the opposite conclusion; there's nothing enlightened about self-interest, people with an upper hand won't play fair, and only tough, enforceable government regulation can address it, in this view.

Ha Joon-Chang is another modern-day economist who, in essence, thinks the developed world is not playing fair as developing nations struggle to lift their way out of poverty. I interviewed him a few years ago.

On a separate tangent, Dambisa Moyo (pictured) is another modern-day economist who has taken the controversial stance that altruism is, in fact, damaging to the people it ostensibly tries to help.

Does IT Matter?
Meanwhile, it's been more than 30 years since the personal computer entered the scene in a big way.

Yet to this day, academic research on "IT economics" seems sparse. Even though so many of us in the industry believe in the rising tide of technology that lifts all boats, and utopian dreams flow out of Silicon Valley and its mimickers with each new gadget or app, it's hard to find pure research that connects the dots between the aggressive use of technology, economic development, and societal progress.

There's plenty of history at this point. The 80s were famous for $1 trillion worth of PC sales, with no apparent productivity increase in the global economy. The 90s showed that the benefits of this technology took awhile to become apparent; they did become apparent once widely connected to networks and with the invention of the Worldwide Web.

The 2000s were a disaster, with the dot-com meltdown, the post-Y2K technology recession, the Great Recession, and war disaster by the US. Even so, enterprise IT-including tens of millions of personal computers sold each year-rose by the end of the decade to several trillions of dollars.

Now, as we progress through the second decade of the 21st century, we see cloud computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things. It's time for economists to study the "IT effect" with rigor.

As a non-academic with perhaps just enough graduate school experience to be dangerous, I won't be the person who seizes this field of study and emerges as the Joseph Steiglitz of IT economics. But to paraphrase the Dennis Hopper character in True Romance, I find this stuff to be fascinating.

Relatively Speaking
Our research at the Tau Institute is socio-economic in nature, but as of yet lays out no grand theories.

We abide by the principle that technology is not only inevitable but inevitably good for the human species; though Google Glass today is seen as having great comedic value, the same twitters could be heard (well before Twitter) with images of people lugging around computers, talking on wireless phones, and seeking hotspots.

The big caveat, of course, is that our political and societal leaders don't abuse the wonders of technological progress. Wishful thinking, perhaps.

Yet the net gain to the world economy brought by personal computing devices is enormous. Mobile phones are the only way to communicate in much of the developing world, and are also used as virtual banks. Mobile computers in the developed world have surely reduced the number of people-an therefore, congestion--showing up to work every day in central cities.

Wireless connectivity has freed people to work and access information from almost wherever they choose, and it's cut down on the time people watch television-a development that cannot, on the whole, be deleterious.

(More to come in future postings!)

Contact Me on Twitter

Follow @ThingsExpo on Twitter

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.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@BigDataExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, will explore the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences betwee...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Cole, Director of Solutions Engineering at Peak 10, will discuss how the newest technology advances are reducing the cost and complexity of traditional business continuity and disaster recovery solutions. Attendees will: Learn why having a full disaster recovery strategy is more important now than ever before Explore the key drivers of a successful disaster recovery solution Achieve measurable operational and business value from a disaster recovery ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hanu Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Leveraging best-in-class people, processes, and technologies, Hanu provides high-quality, high-value software development and business process outsourcing services to independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises.
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the present state of cloud from the C-level view, and how great companies and rock star executives can use cloud computing to meet their most ambitious and disruptive business ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's [email protected] at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, high-productivity enterprise web applications for any device. SmartClient couples the industry’s broadest, deepest UI component set with a java server framework to deliver an end-...