Thumbnail image for discussion-pointYou can't escape the buzz about the Internet of Things (IoT). From ubiquitous sensors and constant connectivity to wearable tech and appliances that seemingly think autonomously, the potential is limitless.

We're rapidly developing a digital nerve system as sophisticated and complex as anything in the human body.

Proponents boast that the IoT will shape our futures and transform the ways we work, live and play. But will it — and, if so, how? To find out, we turned to four industry experts, including two that rank on Appinions list of the IoT's top 10 movers and shakers. (Appinions is an influence marketing platform designed to help B2B businesses identify, manage and measure the people and ideas that impact companies and their products.)

It's easy to lie — or at least misrepresent — with statistics and predictions. But by any measure, the IoT is a massive economic engine. IDC claims a transformation is underway that will see the worldwide market for IoT solutions grow from last year's $1.9 trillion to $7.1 trillion in 2020. IDC defines the IoT as a network of networks of uniquely identifiable endpoints (or "things") that communicate without human interaction using IP connectivity, be it "locally" or globally.

What's interesting is how quickly the IoT has become a thing, as the chart below shows.

The Question

Will the IoT change life as we know it? 

The Answers

Charlie Bess, Chief Technologist, Hewlett-Packard


HP's chief technologist ranks seventh on Appinions list of most influential IoT executives. Previously, Bess was the leader of HP’s global architecture capability, the Chief Technologist for numerous large internal teams and a member of HP’s services lab. He is an avid blogger and led HP’s global technical conference multiple times. Bess is a licensed professional engineer, certified as an Open Group distinguished architect leader, president of the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals (leading the Service Futures SIG) and a senior IEEE member. Tweet to Charlie Bess.

Without a doubt, the Internet of Things will change our lives. We’ll move from thinking about computers as devices to not thinking about computers in things at all.  This more environmental computing interaction should empower us by addressing our needs proactively and interactively. We’ll begin to collaborate with the environment around us, rather than just manipulate it. The cognitive computing capabilities will allow us to focus our attention on those elements that truly need our creativity and consideration, rather than be distracted by the mundane needs of the day (that will now be automated).

The reason we will accept this abundance of computing capabilities is because it will not beg for our attention, like most implementations today. Instead, it will be self-regulating and correcting in its effort to care for us and make our lives better. 

This will take significant effort on the part of engineers and innovators but should enable a richer life experience. We’re at the early stages of this more interactive and intelligent environment. We’re crawling — or, at most, toddling along — and the steep part of the learning curve is still ahead of us where a great deal of experimentation and understanding will be developed.

Steve Jennis, Senior Vice President, PrismTech


Jennis, who ranks 10th on the Appinion list of influential IoT execs, is responsible for PrismTech's corporate development and marketing. The company supplies the software platforms, tools and services that are needed to build system solutions for the IoT, the industrial Internet and advanced wireless communications. It recently launched Vortex, an intelligent real time data sharing platform for the Industrial IoT. While at PrismTech, Jennis has established the company’s North American operations and successfully developed its worldwide sales and marketing functions. Before joining PrismTech, Jennis was the general manager of Texas Instrument's Computer Products Division. He also held international marketing and strategic planning positions with the organization. Tweet to Steve Jennis.

Did the Internet of people change life as you knew it? Do you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. today? Did you 10 years ago? Did you predict these changes? I think we all know the answers. Now think about adding "things" to those online interactions. A common misconception about the IoT is that it will somehow exclude people. But I can’t think of anything less true. People will still be in control. Things will communicate with each other and with analytical applications many times more often than we post to our Facebook friends or our Twitter followers today, but ultimately the information extracted from all that communication will be delivered to us to be acted upon.