LAFAYETTE – As Purdue President Mitch Daniels started to size up the Lilly Endowment’s $38.9 million bet on Greater Lafayette to be a regional hub for “Internet of Things” innovation, there were hints of “Dawn or Doom,” his campus’ annual conference of life-changing technological potential and peril.
“You know, it’s speculated that there will be four or five or six sensors in the next few years for every person on Earth,” Daniels said. “Billions of them, embedded everywhere.”
If predictions by Deloitte are any indication, that means 25 billion Internet of Things (IoT) objects – those things connected by sensors to track all sorts of data in the name of efficiency, accuracy and better productivity – by 2025. The global economic impact of all that? How about $11.1 trillion annually, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report from 2015.
All of which had everyone – Daniels included – two weeks ago talking about nothing but a technological dawn heading into 2018 and all the financial potential that could come with it from the money Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment plans to put into the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network.
The goal, fed by Purdue research and brain power, is to make IoT so easy for manufacturers and agri-business – no matter how small – that it will drive new markets and business expansion.
It’s a project that started two years ago when Lilly Endowment helped create and then challenged the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network to find some way to make the 10-county region a destination spot for fresh economic development.