My tour guide in Guernsey pointed to a small island in the distance, poking through the mist like some mystical land from Arthurian legend.
“That’s Sark. Only 600 people live over there.” He paused for dramatic effect. “And there are no cars.”
I gazed over the sea at the isle sitting nestled between the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey, 80 miles south of England, my mind blank for a moment as I digested the information.
“Wait, what do you mean there are no cars?”
The tour guide smirked a bit. “Just what I said. They aren’t allowed. Only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles. No modern roads. No traffic lights either.”
I tried to imagine what living in this fragile piece of the past was like. Even neighbors must feel very far away. Of course, for a tiny, isolated island that boasted only 600 people, it probably didn’t hurt as much as it lent a unique rustic charm that boosted their tourism efforts.
But for the ever-growing modern world outside? Well, something like this simply couldn’t exist (at least not for long).
As our tech expert Paul Mampilly stresses often, we’re living in a world that is becoming more connected each day.
That’s not only in the physical sense, with the continuing construction of new roadways across the world that are cutting travel times by half in remote regions.
No, the big unifier — the key equalizer — of our age is the Internet. More specifically, it’s the Internet of Things, the moniker for the network of smart machines that are able to “talk” to one another.
Every time I read one of Paul’s articles or surf the Web, I see another example of the world growing smaller and increasingly linked. And how insulated places like Sark are becoming progressively rarified.
For example, Cisco just announced that it expects colossal growth in “machine to machine” devices through 2021. In fact, those types of machines will comprise 51% of all Internet-connected devices by then. And more than 6 billion of them will be living in our homes. Billions more will be embedded in hospitals, factories, stores and more.
This is the Internet of Things revolution at work.
Early this week, NPR even ran the headline: “The Internet of Things Is Becoming More Difficult to Escape.” See, Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center released a new report that highlights how smart technology is becoming ever more prevalent in our lives — and will soon become “ubiquitous and unavoidably present.”
In 1999, just 4% of the world population was online. Fast-forward to today, where nearly 50% of the world is connected online — an estimated 3.75 billion people who are relying on the Web and smart machines for their invaluable resources.
Despite that growth, there’s much more to come.
When Pew and Elon University sent out a survey about this evolution and asked if people would stay connected to these devices, despite the vulnerabilities that can also arise with interconnectedness, 1,201 responded: 15% said they would disconnect, while a hefty 85% said they would become ingrained more deeply in the connected world.
What this tells me is that even though Internet-connected devices have saturated the market by an enormous amount in the last 18 years, there’s extraordinary room for the market to grow in the future. And plenty of consumer receptiveness. As Cisco mentioned, we’ll see the next leg of that growth within the coming five years or so.
And where there’s massive market growth, there’s massive opportunity. You can learn more about those types of opportunities by clicking here.
With that said, I just want to say that I’m happy to be back from vacation, sitting in front of my computer and reading the emails you’ve sent in. It reminds me of how connected we all are, either by technology or a shared interest in building and protecting our wealth.