The internet of things is an ubiquitous phenomenon which is based an a very diverse and complex ecosystem. There is not one solution or one market to refer to. It is more a strongly fragmented spectrum of applications.
The large variety of solutions makes it difficult to define the right product architecture and to do the necessary make-or-buy decisions. Furthermore, connected IoT devices are only one ingredient of a long end-to-end (E2E) chain of technical components and services. It is imperative to choose the right partners and technologies to setup and reliably operate an IoT system.
Thorough market analysis and strategic product planning is a pre-requisite for a solid business-case. However, the IoT market is very much fragmented with several verticals. Ontop of that some market segments are not transparent yet and will develop over time. Predicting the market potential for a particular IoT application or portfolio requires a special approach.
All IoT devices have one thing in common: the capability to connect to a network. This can happen directly or via a gateway. The connectivity can be established via cable or wireless. Most computers, set-top boxes and game consoles have ethernet ports for a cable connection to the internet. But there is a huge shift towards wireless access technologies. Wifi is the most prominent wireless standard to connect to the internet. However, many new wireless connectivity solutions are used for IoT devices. Here we can distinguish between short-range and wide-area technologies. Wide-area connectivity is typically more expensive and consumes more electrical power. Recently we have seen a lot of innovation in the field of wireless wide-area data communication. There are mobile high-end solutions with max data-rates of 1 Gbps and beyond (LTE-A) as well as cost optimized, very power efficient lower data-rate solutions with high coverage including deep indoor coverage (NB-IoT, LTE-M1, Sigfox, LoRa). However, the max data-rate is strongly reduced with these so called LPWAN technologies. They address a specific niche market for products with a battery lifetime of up to ten years.