The widespread adoption of the Internet of Things will take time, but the time line is advancing thanks to improvements in underlying technologies. Advances in wireless networking technology and the greater standardization of communications protocols make it possible to collect data from these sensors almost anywhere at any time.

Now is the time for executives across all industries to structure their thoughts about the potential impact and opportunities likely to emerge from the Internet of Things. We see six distinct types of emerging applications, which fall in two broad categories: first, information and analysis and, second, automation and control (exhibit).