Soon every device you own — and nearly every object you can imagine — will be connected to the Internet.
Your refrigerator, smoke detector, doorbell and air freshener may already be. Next, clothes, traffic lights and pedestrian walk buttons — and every part of a factory — and even your home’s windows, will all be connected, sharing information to make you healthier, your commute shorter, and everything more efficient.
Technology consulting firm Gartner projects that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide this year, up 30 percent from last year. And Gartner forecasts that number will grow by more than three times, to nearly 21 billion by the year 2020.
Even the most obvious connected devices — smartphones — might experience an unexpected, and radical, transformation as a result of everything else connecting to the Internet: Legendary investor Marc Andreessen predicts mobile phones could disappear within 10 years, as every surface could have a screen.
The Internet of Things boom has attracted nearly $7.5 billion in investment, through nearly 900 deals over the past six years, according to CB Insights. And funding is accelerating: CB insights reports that funding of start-ups in the space nearly doubled from 2010 to 2014, growing from 91 deals to 221 deals.
As CNBC begins the process of selecting the 2016 Disruptor 50, many of the most well-funded Internet of Things’ start-ups tackle issues related to infrastructure, cloud platforms and consumer wearables.
The company with the most funding in the category is View, which makes Intenet-connected smart window and environmentally friendly building glass. It raised $150 million in the third quarter of last year. Following View is Proteus Digital Health, which makes ingestible sensors to measure whether people remember to take their medication, and their physiological responses to it. It raised $42 million in 2014.
And the focus on security will continue to grow as the potential for hacking into everything from a factory to a city’s traffic system looms.
This new networked world creates a new range of risks.