The so-called "Internet of things" has gotten a lot of hype lately. The idea is pretty simple, albeit logistically complex: Companies can put chips in inanimate objects—cars, thermostats, refrigerators, lightbulbs—that allow those objects to be connected to the Internet and controlled remotely.
Our colleagues over at Quartz have a long list of arguments for why 2014 will actually be the year of the "things." Adding to their chorus is Padmasree Warrior, Cisco's Chief Technology and Strategy Officer. At the Silicon Valley Summit on Monday, she said her company is predicting an aggressive adoption curve for making all things digital.
"In 1984, there were 1000 connected devices," she said. "That number rose up to reach a million devices in 1992, and reached a billion devices in 2008. Our estimates say... that we will have roughly 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020. That number is going to really accelerate over the next several years. Despite the fact, we estimate that only one percent of things that could have an IP address do have an IP address today, so we like to say that 99 percent of the world is still asleep.