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  • Over the last few years, the Internet of things has evolved from an intriguing concept into an increasingly sophisticated network of devices and machines. As more and more "things" get connected to the Internet—from Fitbit activity monitors and home lighting systems to industrial machines and aircraft—the stakes grow exponentially larger. Cisco Systems estimates that approximately 12.1 billion Internet-connected devices were in use in April 2014, and that figure is expected to zoom to above 50 billion by 2020. The networking firm also notes that about 100 things currently connect to the Internet every second, and the number is expected to reach 250 per second by 2020. Eventually, the IoT will encompass about 99 percent of all objects, which currently totals approximately 1.5 trillion things. "The IoT holds potential for disruptive change," says Gilad Meiri, CEO of tech startup Neura. "The evolution of the technology will likely be faster than the Internet." Following is a brief timeline  of important IoT events.

  • Though we design systems to protect us from ourselves, it seems that the more technology and safety features we add, the more risky our behavior becomes.

  • If you believe that your company's leaders struggle to understand information technology, you'll find a partner in the marketing department. In fact, only a minority of global marketing executives think that the C-suite comprehends digital strategies, according to a recent survey from Epsilon. The accompanying report, "Leading a Digital Marketing Evolution: Lessons in Transformation, Culture and Technology from the Global 1000," also reveals that companies with rigid structures and high barriers to innovation are nearly twice as likely to have difficulty attracting and keeping tech talent. The survey divides companies into "leaders," and "mainstream," with three-quarters of the former enterprises reporting positive 2013 revenue trends, when compared with the sector average. In contrast, only 43 percent of the mainstream companies showed positive revenue trends. Leader companies are also considered trailblazers with respect to digital change and disruption, while mainstream organizations are more likely to face pressures due to those factors. "Technology enables marketers to expand their capabilities, especially when it comes to making their efforts more customer-centric," says Kim Finnerty, senior vice president of research and insights for Epsilon. More than 400 global consumer marketing executives took part in the research.

  • In today's topsy-turvy digital world, no concept goes unexplored. One of the more interesting wrinkles on the innovation front? Enterprises turning to citizen developers to spur innovation and fill key skill gaps. According to Gartner, employees outside the IT department now write 25 percent of new business apps. This community is increasingly in demand and is of growing value to enterprises as they attempt to stay ahead of competitors and the marketplace. Recognizing this trend, IBM has conducted a global study titled: "Raising the Game: The IBM Business Tech Trends Report." Among other things, it found that 80 percent of leading enterprises are forming new partnerships with citizen developers to close the skills gap for application development. This approach drives greater collaboration and innovation across key cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies, the study reports. Interestingly, these initiatives take many forms, including hackathons, application challenges, contests, crowdsourcing projects, cooperating with academia and open-source Websites that serve as repositories for code. Here's a look at what some organizations are doing.

  • CEOs in the United States are increasingly viewing innovation as a prime key to future growth, according to a recent survey from KPMG. According to the accompanying report, "Setting the Course for Growth: CEO Perspectives," CEOs are generally confident in growth prospects for both their organization and the overall economy. And the vast majority of them are developing a formal companywide plan to increase innovation. Obviously, that benefits the IT organization because innovation almost always involves technology. These efforts are expected to lead enterprises through a make-or-break era of change, as it's time to transform "or wither away" into industry irrelevancy, according to KPMG. "Looking out on the next three years," the report states, "CEOs see opportunities in the steadily improving economy—but they remain focused on efficient growth and are wary of new challenges in a significantly different, post-recovery marketplace. Amid an unprecedented wave of transformative changes, setting the course for growth will require new strategies, new tools and new thinking." An estimated 400 U.S. CEOs took part in the research.