The idea of a connected world has become popularized in the last few years. While
the possibilities of digitally connecting anything and everything in a vast web have
been envisioned for some time now, the forces to make it a reality have only recently
converged. Estimates of the current number of connected “things” are all over the
map, as are future projections on connected devices. However, a good and reliable
source, The World Economic Forum, projects that by 2020 there will be 5 billion
people and 50 billion things connected to the Internet. EMC claims that 20 billion
sensors are already connected to the Internet today. Some prognosticators foresee
a world with trillions of connected things in the not too distant future. The questions
for insurers to explore are what kinds of things are being connected, and what
are the implications for the insurance industry? Will we engineer away risk? Will
insurance become embedded in other products and services – invisible to buyers?
Will there be a whole new set of risks that must be managed? These and other
fundamental questions must be addressed.