Will It Connect? How The Smart Cities Movement Uses Internet of Things

Will it connect? That is the key question in the world of IoT. And, yes, just about everything can and (maybe) will connect, eventually. From smart cars to smart homes to smart golf clubs, fitness trackers, and kitchens,and even the manufacturing floor, everything will be connected and shared.

A new study from Business Insider Intelligence estimates that there will be 24 billion IoT devices installed globally by 2020, with $6 trillion invested in IoT solutions over the next five years.

As the 'great digital transformation of 2016' proceeds in both the private and public sectors around the globe, we will all be affected by this time of digital innovation in more ways than one.

Municipalities around the US have been quietly undergoing some major online and offline structural changes in the 'smart cities' movement. As millennials join the workforce in increasing numbers, and as tech innovation becomes more distributed around the country, we are seeing some good examples of cities responding.

I recently had the opportunity to visit with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to learn more about what they're doing in the area of helping both startups and public entities connect online and off. From light rail, to decentralized and connected employment hubs and smart grid/clean tech innovation - Phoenix is no longer just a snowbird / retirement city. The new profile is a youthful and highly skilled workforce that is attracted to the livability and connectedness of the city.

Other cities around the country are transforming - from NYC to San Diego to Cincinnati - and the future could be bright for next gen people and places.

Cincinnati, in fact, is part of the White House's TechHire Initiative, launched last year with the goal of filling America's 500,000 vacant tech jobs. Here, displaced workers might be re-skilled as application developers - ready to hire on in IoT startups popping up or to companies like local manufacturer Mazak Corp. who makes an IoT product called "SmartBox".

Will it connect
is fast becoming the watchword of 2016 as private industry and public programs help push the innovation we need into IoT - the next multi-billion dollar market.

Beverly Macy is the author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing and teaches at UCLA Anderson School of Management.