IoT and Beyond: A Third Wave Emerges, Blending Physical and Digital

The Economist describes the current state of the Internet of Things (IoT) as a “quiet revolution” that is impacting both product and service firms across all sectors of the economy. Their 2013 survey found that 75% of companies were exploring uses and applications leveraging the IoT.

Moving from these early experiments and proof of concepts to widespread deployment will not be easy. It is not the same as building a company website in the 1990s, moving operations online in the 2000s, or giving your employees mobile access to corporate assets today. It will be harder, messier, and ultimately will have a more profound impact on every aspect of your business – from internal operations to external products and services.

What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era of technology – the third wave of computing – that is transforming our world. The clean divide between the physical and digital worlds is crumbling. A few examples:

  • Streetline is helping city drivers find the best open parking spaces through their smartphones, tied to sensors in the street, connectivity and analytics services;
  • Mimo has embedded sensors in a baby’s “onesie” that monitors respiration, skin temperature, position, and activity pattern – and passes the data via WiFi to parents using a smartphone;
  • Predictive agriculture is taking the guesswork out of farming through data-driven guidance on optimal planting locations, planting schedules, and irrigation levels.
  • Multiple automakers are re-imagining the car as a connected end-point in the network, improving communication with the driver, passengers, other cars, home and office, and the environment around the car.
  • Our homes and offices are becoming responsive to us, with automated temperature controls and home energy management systems that optimally balance comfort with energy consumption.
  • Across industries – from manufacturing and transportation to healthcare and energy – IoT is being embraced to automate processes, improve operations and predict outcomes in real time based on distributed sensors and powerful analytics.


The third wave of computing is transforming how we live, work and play – and the pace of this transformation is increasing. The first and second waves created a world where today there are approximately 2 connected devices for every human on the planet (7 billion people to 12.5 billion devices). If the third wave plays out as expected, by 2020 this ratio will be around 7:1 (50 billion devices to 7.6 billion people).

Those numbers are impressive, but they also make it easy to miss the big picture – the third wave is about more than just things. Three forces are working together to drive the third wave: 1) Instrumenting the physical world with sensors and actuators; 2) Linking all the sensors, devices and back-end systems via ubiquitous connectivity; and 3) Powering the system via cloud services and analytics software that drive insights, automation and operational improvements increasingly in real time.

All of these trends make it a very exciting time for us at Aricent, since the need for product engineering services is accelerating – and we have 20+ years experience and 10,000+ engineers who specialize in the hard-core software and connectivity work that can help clients accelerate their IoT R&D.

For the rest of this week, we will share our insights about fundamental #IoT #Engineering trends that will shape how companies design, build, and bring products to market.

We then hope to see many of you at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, where we will showcase proof-of-concept demos and share exciting news about our plans to help the world’s top innovators accelerate development of IoT software, hardware and systems. To meet with our team at #MWC15, please register here.

For more perspective on IoT product engineering, please click here to access Aricent’s full white paper titled, “Never Mind the IoT, Here Comes the Third Wave.


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