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How Mobile Data Is Driving IoT

The Internet of Things is projected to explode in the near future. Right now, mobile data is the key to its current and future growth.

· IoT Zone

Access the survey results 'State of Industrial Internet Application Development' to learn about latest challenges, trends and opportunities with Industrial IoT, brought to you in partnership with GE Digital.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a major trending topic in recent years, with many wondering how and when it will start having major impacts on our daily lives.

IoT essentially consists of a network of objects that have the ability to communicate with the Internet and other objects with an IP address.

IoT is already playing a big role in the development of big data in general, but few realize that it’s mobile data that really helps us get the most out of IoT today.

Research On IOT Growth Factors

Mobile has gone through a major evolution with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, which is why many research studies expect in will play a major role in how IoT develops over the years.

One such report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says there are several features of mobile that will drive IoT growth, including:

  • The growth of networking technologies
  • Enterprise and automation systems
  • Control and field devices
  • Network equipment

All these factors promote connectivity and sharing of data, which are core requirements for IoT to proliferate and grow.

The same report expects that with the help of mobile data, by 2020 IoT will have an impressive $4.5 trillion impact on the global economy. This prospect today gives mobile data networks a unique opportunity to expand beyond consumer data to accelerate growth in IoT.

Berg Insights is a research firm focused on machine-to-machine communication that also has confidence in the role of mobile for IoT growth. One of their recent reports stated that 4 million units of wireless devices used for industrial automation were shipped this year, and they expect the numbers will grow to 13 million within the next five years.

Businesses are Primed to Use Mobile Data in IoT

Many businesses are already taking advantage of the possibilities mobile data has in this area through joint ventures and mergers. For example:

  • Zebra acquired Motorola’s enterprise unit, which is expected to impact IoT
  • Taiwanese PC and mobile company Acer has partnered with Marvell, a US chipmaker, to find new ways to connect household devices to the web, according to a report by Web Design Dallas
  • Cisco has invested $1 billion to an IoT innovation fund, and to develop Internet of Everything data centers
  • Mobile network provider Ericsson has partnered with KT to focus on IoT benefits of future 5G technology

These are just a few examples of the many companies preparing to leverage mobile data for IoT advancement. Most projects are in early stages, so we can’t yet reap any benefits. But we can expect major innovations to surface from these collaborations and other projects in years to come.

The Role of Apps

While mobile device data in general is a beneficial tool for IoT development, the data capabilities of smart devices offer truly impressive insights.

According to Magora agency, “Apps are a major feature of smartphone functionality, and also serve a core purpose in the exchange of data to and from other IoT devices. In some ways, you can argue that apps facilitate every function IoT has to offer.”

Here are just a few examples of mobile apps that are critical for IoT processes:

  • Noise monitoring apps that track sound decibels in schools, hospitals, residential areas, and other sensitive locations
  • Waste management apps that can monitor trash levels in containers to optimize garbage collection services
  • Structural health apps that can monitor the condition of important materials in buildings, bridges, and other structures through vibrations
  • Smart parking apps that keep track of parking availability throughout a city

IBM is one company that really understands the value of mobile apps for IoT progress. You can already link the sensor data from your mobile phone with their Internet of Things Foundation cloud-hosted service to create your own IoT applications as well.


It would seem that mobile devices and the sensor data they offer are uniquely positioned to facilitate IoT growth, especially considering their popular use across the globe.

The possibilities are great, but at this point, most businesses are only in the early research stages of how mobile data can drive IoT, and are not yet incorporating mobile data insights into their IoT development projects - like analytics, sales management, ppc management, invoicing and tax audit system, ad retargeting, etc.  

That said, in the coming years, we should expect exponential IoT growth as these benefits are put into regular practice.

The IoT Zone is brought to you in partnership with GE Digital.  Discover how IoT developers are using Predix to disrupt traditional industrial development models.

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