One of the most important measures of success of an innovation is in its adoption. This transition happens, when the consumer is not required to understand the technology behind innovation but can still use it effortlessly. Take for instance the internet and how it has seamlessly integrated with our lives. This is probably the single most influential technological innovation that has re shaped the world in the last 30 years or so.

Today, we are talking about connecting everything to everything else on the internet. Why this sudden buzz? What has changed that makes the Internet of Things a reality? To know what lies ahead, we need to understand the past. Maybe, quick sneak peek behind the screen can help too.

Internet Protocol (IP) is the method by which data is transferred from one computer to another on the internet. So every computer and device needs to have an IP address to be able to function in the internet. Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) which is widely used today allows for 4.3 billion IP addresses. That’s a lot of addresses. Or is it?

Smart phones, tablets, social media combined with a growing population of younger generation started turning the world digital. Once again, it is not just these innovations but the ease of adoption that is doing the trick. There is nothing that can stop this juggernaut. Or so we thought.

Today there are close to 7 billion humans in this planet and over 5.5 billion devices that can potentially be connected to each other. But then there is a small problem of demand and supply. We didn’t have enough IP addresses to make this happen. (Only 4.3 billion addresses). The projected rate of growth in the devices meant we had to do something quick. Real quick.

In came the upgraded version IPv6. This was the elixir to solve the conundrum that the digital world was facing. Without getting too technical, IPv6 can support 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses. Yes you heard it right. To give you a perspective of the scale, if all the addresses of IPV4 could be fitted in a 1.6 inch square box then all the addresses of IPv6 requires a space equivalent to our entire solar system. In other words, even if we assign a billion IP address per second for 4.5 billion years (the age of earth) we would have consumed only a trillion addresses.

This mind boggling advent happened 2 years back. Thanks to IPV6, we can now connect an astronomical number of devices to each other and to the internet. Brace yourself to the ‘Third Wave’ of technology innovation called the ‘Internet of Things’. The use case of IoT is limitless. The world as we know it, is expected to change from here on.

Newer technologies will emerge tomorrow. Internet of Things will enable the world to go beyond Nokia’s tag line of ‘Connecting People’. Along with people we would be able to connect to anything, anywhere and anytime. All these connected devices will churn out data so huge that we might come up with something bigger than big data analytics. Data security compromise would be a real threat and of course answers to those fears will also be found.

Consumers will not fear the technology that they don’t understand. But will embrace the one that can seamlessly become a part of their life and help them too.

Technology service providers are naturally excited at the prospects and opportunities. But their success will depend on how well they play their new role as digital transformation partners.

We rode the first 2 waves successfully and have reached where we are. There is no reason why we won’t enjoy riding this third wave that would take us in to a near complete digital world.