The hype around the Internet of Things has been rising steadily over the past five years. In tech analyst Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report in 2015, the IoT is at the peak of “inflated expectations”, particularly for areas like the smart home, which involve controlling your lights, thermostat or TV using your mobile phone.
But the era of sensors has only just dawned, according to renowned technology investor and internet pioneer Marc Andreessen. In 10 years, he predicts mobile phones themselves could disappear.
“The idea that we have a single piece of glowing display is too limiting. By then, every table, every wall, every surface will have a screen or can project,” he told the Telegraph. “Hypothetically you walk upto a wall, sit at a table and [talk to] an earpiece or eyeglasses to make a call. The term is ambient or ubiquitous computing.”
Which is why he has invested $25m into Californian startup Samsara, which is the first of a new generation of “internet of things” devices that solves huge industrial problems, rather than turning your fridge or your toothbrush into a portal to the web.
“This second wave of companies, they don’t want to just do “internet of things”,” Andreessen said. “They are showing up three years later, saying ok I know exactly how this is going to get used. It’s for real businesses in industrial environments.”
Gartner backs this claim – it predicts that businesses alone will double spending on internet of things units by 2020, going from $767 billion to more than $1.4 trillion.