Market research firm Gartner forecasts that worldwide IT spending will climb to $3.8 trillion in 2014, a 3.6 percent increase from 2013, though it's not just the numbers that have IT leaders excited, it's also the "opportunities of a digital world." Gartner's calling it a new era, one that it's dubbed the "Digital Industrial Economy" to reflect the growing number of connected devices, and on a broader scale, the people and businesses using them.
"The Digital Industrial Economy will be built on the foundations of the Nexus of Forces (which includes a confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information) and the Internet of Everything by combining the physical world and the virtual," said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research.
"Digitalization exposes every part of your business and its operations to these forces. It is how you reach customers and constituents; how you run your physical plant; and how you generate revenue or deliver services. Enterprises doing this today are setting themselves apart and will collectively lead the new Digital Industrial Economy," Sondergaard added.
One could argue that this new era has already begun, though things are going to kick up several notches within the next several years. For example, there were 2.5 billion connected devices with unique IP addresses to the Internet in 2009, most of which were cell phones and PCs. In 2020, Gartner believes that number will balloon to 30 billion devices, most of which will be products.
All these new devices are what make up the new economy, and with it, billions of dollars for the taking in products and services.