NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Smart Technologies Require Smart Regulations

June 19, 2015

The "Internet of Things" (IoT), sometimes called "machine-to-machine" (M2M) communication technologies, is already growing at a breakneck pace and expected to continue to accelerate rapidly.

The dramatic improvements to marginal production and cost reduction in manufacturing wrought by IoT technologies are projected to generate billions in revenue growth and productivity over the next decade.

"Unmanned aerial vehicles" (UAVs) or "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" (UASs), informally known as "drones," employ similar networked concepts to automate aerial operation. UAVs will provide enormous productivity gains and cost savings in agricultural output, product delivery and journalism and data gathering, as well as providing another exciting outlet as a good old-fashioned consumer hobby.

Industry analyses of market trends anticipate robust growth in the total number of networked devices in use over the next decades.

The growth in the total number of IoT devices is projected to provide substantial economic and social benefits in the way of cost savings, value creation, productivity improvements and general economic growth.

  • McKinsey Global Institute researchers estimate the potential economic impact of IoT technologies to be $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion per year by 2025, the largest of which will be felt in the manufacturing and health care industries.
  • General Electric projects that industrial IoT technologies could add about $15 trillion to global Gross Domestic Product by 2030 (in constant 2005 dollars) if they raise global annual productivity growth by 0.5 to 1 percentage points. Additionally, an estimated $32.3 trillion in total global output can benefit from "Industrial Internet" technologies by optimizing information flows.
  • Accenture estimates that the industrial IoT could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and that the US economy will gain at least $6.1 trillion in cumulative GDP by that year.
  • Morgan Stanley forecasts that driverless cars will save the US economy $1.3 trillion per year once they fully penetrate the market, while saving the world another $5.6 trillion a year.

Source: Adam Thierer and Andrea Castillo, "Projecting The Growth And Economic Impact of The Internet of Things," Mercatus, June 15, 2015.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues