IoT: 50 billion things and their developer kings

By Guillaume Roques, Head of Developer Relations for EMEA at

The next wave of computing will be fuelled not by computers, or even mobile, but by connected devices your car, your fridge, your home, and even what you wear.

Organisations like GE are already embracing what Jeff Immelt calls the Industrial Internet. But if we look beyond devices, beyond the incredible web of possibilities that an Internet of Things promises we find developers.

Developers of this next technology revolution are creating much more than apps. They are creating jobs, and opening up entirely new ways of creating value.

Developers enable new ways of creating value

By 2020, 50 billion objects are projected to be tied to the Internet. We are moving away from a world where companies are managing portfolios of products or services and to a world where companies manage portfolios of capabilities and relationships. In other words, companies are managing portfolios of connections.

In this networked economy, where everything is connected to anything at any time, code is everywhere. Everywhere means in your car – the one that will soon ‘friend’ you on Facebook – in your phone, your camera, your TV and also in equipment used by professionals: precision farming equipment, surgical robots, and so on.

Developers, those who really enable this transformational change, are the kingmakers. Developers are orchestrating all those APIs and systems, remodelling business models (currently largely based on static information architectures), and changing business processes to ultimately (re)invent a new type of service.

Developers create jobs everywhere

At times, technology has been positioned as a jobs killer. Yet while it is absolutely true that technology is making certain forms of human labour unnecessary or economically uncompetitive, technology also creates new innovative ways of working and provides new skills to the workforce.

Developers, who are exploiting technologies (not workers) to reinvent the way we do things, are in fact creating jobs; jobs not only for today’s economy, but even more important, jobs that will fuel tomorrow's economy. To paraphrase Redmonk’s foundational principle, developers are the single most important constituency in our society today.

And it’s not just ‘traditional’ developers creating jobs. Thanks to the democratisation of programming the very definition of a developer has changed. Modern PaaS offerings like have unleashed millions of citizen developers, business users who have never taken a computer science class, to build complete custom applications.

Today, even our children are learning to be developers with products like Lego Mindstorms. Tomorrow, perhaps the connected devices themselves will begin programing and become developers themselves.

Developers are the catalysts of the new networked economy

Smart devices, programmed by developers, create jobs. It is foreseeable to envisage an economy where a dishwasher, connected to the Internet begins to experience a malfunction.

Instead of relying on the owner to react to the fault, the dishwasher itself could publish a “request for service” to a community of plumbers, matching criteria such as ratings, experience and specialty, who could bid for the service work. Only after the most qualified technician has been identified does the owner need to be involved.

The connected dishwasher is only one example, but evidence that the combination of Moore’s law, Gilder’s law, and Metcalf’s law creates a whole set of new opportunities and jobs connecting products, customers, employees, partners in entirely new ways is accruing rapidly.

We are already seeing this with Tesla with their connected car. It’s just a matter of time before we see those innovations created by developers empowering workers, particularly in the services industry.

Make it happen!

The Internet of Things revolution is here. Developers are at the forefront. Through technology they are shaping the world. Devices connected to the Internet can help drive real business value by enabling organisations to work more efficiently through investing in growth areas while minimising costs, all based on real-time device feedback.


If you are interested in IoT, please visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London's Olympia, December 2-3 2015.

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