In the coming months, cable TV operator and NBCUniversal parent Comcast (CMCSA) will begin testing a service that will help utility companies remotely read meters, monitor pollution and noise and perform other tasks using devices connected to the Internet.
The communications and entertainment powerhouse is part of a diverse and growing field of companies that will be connecting everything from cars, garage door openers, oil rigs, airplanes and nearly every object with a consumer or industrial use to the Internet. The networked devices can monitor and relay external factors such as temperature, internal data such as fuel tank capacity or the need for repairs, and perform tasks such as locking doors or starting a car engine.
Apple (AAPL) , Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google, Samsung (SSNLF) and Amazon (AMZN) are battling for smart homes. Tesla (TSLA) , BMW, General Motors (GM) , Google and others are racing towards the launch of autonomous cars. And Cisco (CSCO) , Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) , IBM (IBM) , Intel (INTC) , Dell, Verizon (VZ) , AT&T (T) and others are pursuing a range of IoT opportunities in consumer, industrial and corporate markets.
"It is affecting basically every industry, to a degree, and is affecting consumer markets," said Gartner analyst Peter Middleton.
Gartner expects that more than 20 billion devices will be part of the Internet of Things by 2020, with about two-thirds in the hands of consumers and the rest put to commercial and industrial use. Networking giant Cisco is even more ambitious, targeting 50 billion networked devices in the same time frame.
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