The Internet of Things in Education: Building Grassroots Entrepreneurs

Blog posted taken from Xively – the ‘Public Cloud for IoT’ 

If we learned anything from the meteoric rise of mobile platforms and app stores, it’s that a whole new generation of entrepreneurs are empowered to have big impacts with very little start-up overhead. Even a single developer located anywhere with some Objective C knowledge learned in their spare time can rise to make a great product and a ton of money. Check out the example of Aaron Marshall. He was down to a little bit of money and built a relatively simple, yet inspired application that led to over 1.7 million downloads at a price point of $1.99. This is an amazing success story with almost zero start-up costs and a tremendous profit. These stories pop up every day and range from a single person all the way up to companies like Zynga. No wonder the app market sits around $20.1 billion (Portio Research) and the mobile market is valued at $576.9 billion (IDC)

Mobile Market Breakdown

Mobile Market Breakdown


As large as these markets may be, the Internet of Things promises to be significantly larger. With predictions coming in anywhere between $1.2 trillion and $14.4 trillion dollars by 2020 (Machina Research, Cisco), the IoT could make the mobile wave look tiny. I don’t know about you, but any market that promises to encroach on the GDP of the US Economy is definitely massive. Hyperbole aside, the IoT
still promises huge opportunities in the same manner that mobile platforms have in the recent past.  The difference is that,  in addition to software products, the IoT extends opportunities to intelligent physical goods that can be sold at a nice profit margin.   This next paradigm shift in the Internet could spark a 21st-century industrial revolution.

However, in order for the generation of tomorrow to take advantage of this opportunity, they have to not only be provided with the platform, tools and services needed to simplify the creation of these next generation connected products but easy paths for funding and the knowledge in which to become aware and productive in this new segment of the digital economy.

What better place to provide the building blocks for the future than in schools?  Our future generation needs the opportunity to learn and use these tools to build our society and build the Internet of Things. The children of today are our future leaders and entrepreneurs and by giving them access to these technologies and data they have the ability to create endless possibilities. This also will enable teachers to work with their students in new ways to build knowledge and prepare them for the real world. If the Internet of Things is actually going to be as big of a market as predicted, it is crucial for us to prepare those who will be driving the next waves of innovation.

Xively believes in helping educate today’s students on how to take advantage of the IoT. Today we announced inclusion in the DISTANCE initiative.  DISTANCE, a consortium for furthering education through advanced technologies, just unveiled its new “Internet of School Things” project.  The collaborative development, led by industry and academic experts, uses the power of the Internet of Things, to develop innovative ways for teachers and students to take a more active role in creating and sharing digital content in schools.  DISTANCE’s goals are to have students and teachers measure and share data—using new technology on the IoT—in ways that help make learning fun, link directly to the curriculum, and ultimately inform the design of the next generation of schools.  In turn, this initiative will help incentivize UK businesses to collaborate with the education space around a burgeoning technology market while helping better prepare children with unique skills for the digital economy.

The world is teeming with examples of what the young minds, unfettered from the years of “mind grind” and media bombardment, have created in art, science, technology, philanthropy and much more.  Sometimes the older generation misses simple yet game changing observations that are seen with laser like precision by a young person.  By giving these blossoming minds even more paths of learning and exploration, we’re not only expanding their potential, but seeding the next great round of thought leaders and entrepreneurs that will grow to develop  innovative and world changing  ideas.

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