All the ‘Internet of Things’ opportunities Canada should prepare for

A forecast from IDC Canada shows the country could benefit greatly from sensor networks, but there are still some challenges

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Internet of Things Canada

Thanks to Dick Cheney’s pacemaker, a lot of people out there are afraid of the Internet of Things.

The former veep of the USA made the bombshell revelation last fall during a 60 Minutes sit-down with Dr. Sanjay Gupta (on loan from his regular gig as the screen-friendly surgeon at CNN). Cheney admitted that back in 2007, doctors had dismantled the wireless function in his pacemaker. They feared terrorists could assassinate him by remotely hacking the heart device.

Sound familiar? It does if you’re a fan of Homeland. The Showtime series actually aired an episode with the exact same plot twist nearly a year before Cheney admitted all of this publicly.

Cheney’s revelation sparked hundreds of alarmist news stories on the dangerous security risks created by this newfangled Internet of Things (IoT).

Those stories are partly right. By extending constant connectivity to almost everything in our everyday lives, IoT will, undoubtedly, create new opportunities for hackers and their nefarious hijinks.

But buried under all those warnings about would-be pacemaker assassins are stories about the other opportunities that IoT will create – for solution makers, service providers and their customers. At a Toronto event celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in Canada, IDC painted a uniquely Canadian picture of how some of these business opportunities are shaping up.

IT isn’t the main driver: Players from vertical industries outside the IT sector (think trucking firms, elevator companies, etc.) are driving the current innovation in IoT, said Carrie MacGillivray, VP of mobile services, IoT and network infrastructure at IDC Canada.

More players = more opportunity: The ecosystem of IoT players includes vendors in several sectors, including:

– apps/vertical industries

– analytics and social business

– platforms (for device, network and app enablement)

– connectivity and service enablement

– intelligent systems

There won’t be one single, big winner in this fragmented IoT ecosystem, said MacGillivray, but “there’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of revenue that can be generated. There’s opportunities for almost anyone.”

Top C-suite priorities: According to IDC’s latest survey of Canadian executives, these are their top three IoT priorities:

– improving productivity

– automating tasks (especially to remove human error and increase efficiency)

– reducing complexity

Key challenges: Based on the same C-suite survey, the main challenges to IoT adoption in Canada are:

– worry about upfront and ongoing costs

– worry about complexity of the deployment

– security concerns

– management buy-in

– other IT priorities

Canada’s growing install base: IDC predicts the number of autonomous and embedded IoT deployment units installed in Canada will jump from 28 million in 2013 to 114 million in 2018.

Canadian IoT revenue: IDC forecasts IoT revenue in Canada nearly quadrupling from $5.6 billion today to $21.1 billion in 2018.

Looks like the IoT opportunities within Canada’s enterprise market are very much alive and kicking. Just for the record (and despite all those worrying headlines), so is Dick Cheney.

Image courtesy of hyena reality /

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