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Internet of Everything Will Be Worth $19 Trillion, Reminds Cisco CEO

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He believes that the interconnectedness of devices will have five to ten times the impact on society than the Internet has had.

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In a speech made this morning at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) CEO John Chambers said that he believes the so-called "Internet of Everything" (IoE) will create an incredible $19 trillion in economic benefit and value over the next decade. Even more boldly, he said that the IoE will have five to 10 times the societal impact that the Internet itself has had already.

Earlier this year, Chambers made a similar speech at the Consumer Electronics Expo in Las Vegas, describing the economic boon that the IoE will soon deliver.

The Internet of Everything (or the Internet of Things, depending whom you ask), is the concept wherein all devices will be able to communicate with each other via an Internet connection. No longer will smartphones and computers be the only beneficiaries of an Internet connection; within the next decade, your car, your refrigerator, your thermostat, and even your toothbrush could be connected devices.

As Roger Cheng of CNet described it, "The idea is that your car can tell your home that you're five minutes away, which triggers your thermostat to shift to your preferred temperature. Connections range from something as small as a dog collar to a fully connected home or car."

And speaking of thermostats, earlier this year, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) acquired connected-thermostat company Nest for $3.2 billion.

Google was certainly not the first company to invest in the IoE. Last October, GE (NYSE:GE) announced a partnership with Intel (NYSE:INTC), AT&T (NYSE:T), and Cisco to introduce 14 new Internet-connected industrial products to clients in the aviation, power, water, transportation, oil and gas, health care, and energy management industries (read more about that story here). That same month, the agriculture giant Monsanto (NYSE:MON) acquired data analytics firm The Climate Corporation for $1 billion, aiming to more fully integrate Big Data and Big Agriculture.

Indeed, the number of Internet-connected devices has grown exponentially. Giving context to his speech this morning, Chambers noted that in 1984, when Cisco was founded, a total of 1,000 devices were connected to the Internet. By 2010, that figure had exploded to over 10 billion, outnumbering the Earth's human population. By 2020, he said we can expect to see a full 50 billion devices connected to and communicating over the Internet.

Obviously, Cisco is deeply involved in the IoE business, so Chambers' figures may likely be overblown. That being said, the concept is definitely gaining steam. As Chambers quipped in his speech, there was a time when he had to buy someone a drink if he wanted to talk about the IoE. Now, he's having drinks bought left and right for him.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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