The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has predicted that, in just eight years, there will be in upwards of 25 billion devices connected to the internet, which was announced in its annual The State of Broadband report.
As a point of reference, the iPhone 5 broke the 5 million unit threshold in three days. To sell 25 billion iPhone 5′s, it would take 41 years at the current rate which it is selling (sorry, Tim Cook, this is only hypothetical).
ITU also predicts that attached to these 25 billion devices, there will be at least ten billion mobile broadband connections, primarily connecting the developing world’s smartphones and tablets. As their primary means of internet connection, these broadband connections will likely be one of the faster growing technology segments.
Add the United States Census Bureau’s 2020 global population estimate of 7.6 billion , and we will see what is probably the most staggering of all numbers yet – the amount of data that is generated by this population, with these devices, and connected to these networks. Currently, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Just how much will that number grow by in 2020? Exponential is certain.
Driving a large segment of this data generation will be devices derived from the Quantified Self community, which just closed their third conference. I am one of the highly visible people this group (here’s a talk I gave at the first ever QS conference, and that is me on the cover of the Financial Times wearing electrodes on my head.) This growing group of data-driven self-evaluators explores how we can analyze and improve ourselves through metrics and data-gathering.
I said it before (in Jan 31, 2012, to be exact), and I will say it again:
The volume of data we are generating now from machines absolutely pales in comparison to the volume of data we will soon be generating from our own bodies via new consumer grade medtech offerings.
The result will be greater insights into the human condition – physical and mental health, what drives revolutions, keeps kids safe, mitigates the effects of epidemics – and how we can better evolve as a human society.
And it only works when we have the cloud, big data, and…security. Are you really going to post your personal biometric data somewhere where your life insurance company can see it without your permission? Or where a hacker could expose the fact you have a sensitive medical condition? No way. At the same time, you *want* to share your data with those people who can help you analyze it. That’s why I’m betting on security as being the biggest stumbling block towards getting data from those 25 billion devices into the cloud, analyzed, and shared.
How do you think that intersection of humans, connectivity, machines and data will play out?