Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

IT Spending to Reach $3.8 Trillion Next Year, as Billions of Things Get Connected

When you start adding up all the IT budgets of every company and government agency, you start talking about, as they say, real money.

Here’s the figure: $3.8 trillion. That’s the new figure that research firm Gartner said global IT spending will reach next year. And good news if you’re in the business of selling IT products and services, it amounts to a rise of nearly four percent from 2013. Peter Sondergaard, Gartner’s head of research, made the prediction in a speech at an event in Florida today.

One big trend — and it’s officially considered a trend now because so many people are talking about it — is the Internet of Things. In case you’ve missed it, it’s the idea that previously unconnected objects and equipment, be it an air conditioning unit on the top of a building or a garage door opener at your home or pretty much anything else you can imagine, will be connected to the Internet in some way.

The way Gartner sees it, there were about 2.5 billion devices connected to the Internet, and most were phones or PCs. By the year 2020 there will be 30 billion devices, each with its own IP address. (At this point we have to mention the crazy-high theoretical maximum number of devices that can be on the Internet under Internet Protocol version 6 which is 340 undecillion, which is written out like so: 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.)

By 2020 Gartner reckons companies and governments will derive about $1.9 trillion of economic value from Internet of Things technology, in the industries of health care, retail and transportation. If you do the math on Gartner’s prediction, it works out to about $63 and change per device, which implies they’ll be super-inexpensive, too.

And everywhere. “Computing power will be cheap and covert. We won’t know it is there; it will be in our jewelry and in our clothing,” Sondergaard is quoted as saying in a press release issued ahead of his speech. “We will throw more computers into our laundry in a week than we’ve used in our lifetimes so far.”

Apparently we’ll also have to get used to seeing a lot more zeros in the numbers we use every day.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald