Cisco Systems is no stranger to big numbers. The networking and infrastructure giant is fond of citing huge addressable markets for its products, particularly its core switching and routing gear.
So it should come as no surprise that Cisco's "Internet of Everything", or ubiquitous communications between people, applications and machines, is the theme du jour.
Cisco pegs the Internet of Everything as a $14.4tn (£9.5tn) opportunity ripe for the taking. It says this all things internet market will drive it to the top of the IT world and create lucrative opportunities for partners.
"Three to five years out, our major move will be to become the number-one IT player together, and we will do this with partners. To do that, we believe the major transitions will be around the Internet of Things," Cisco chief exec John Chambers claimed at the latest Cisco Live conference in Orlando, Florida.
"We will spend a fair amount of time on how we challenge each other and look at that. But in our opinion - and I think this number will end up being very conservative - it is a $14.4tn profit market for our joint customers over the next decade."
Let's put this "conservative" $14.4tn opportunity in perspective. That's a 14 with 12 zeroes behind it. That's roughly equal to US GDP. A huge number, considering that Gartner's figure for the total addressable global IT market is just $3.6tn.
Driving this optimistic forecast, then, is the increasing number of internet-connected devices. Beyond conventional IT systems or even cloud services, Cisco and other vendors are increasingly looking for opportunities in embedded systems, IP-enabled devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology.
Internet of Everything not new
Cisco believes there will be as many as 50bn connected devices by the end of the decade. That's another big number.
Estimates of IP-enabled devices actually vary wildly, from the low to high billions. Regardless, the bet on the Internet of Everything is that a fraction of a big number will still be a big number.
So if you just capitalise on five per cent of these predicted big numbers, the result will still be $720bn in new sales - or 15 times Cisco's current annual revenue.
Furthermore, it isn't a new opportunity. The Internet of Everything is already here, in Channelnomics's view. IP technology is a part of the fabric of everything from consumer devices, health care electronics, automotive systems, shipping and logistics, energy production systems, entertainment consoles and ordinary business IT infrastructure.
The internet already touches many, many things, and more and more will be added.
Will all this materialise into a $14.4tn opportunity? It won't all come through the IT market, at least as we know it. This Internet of Everything is being driven by electronics and systems manufacturers that don't have a presence in the IT market or channel.
The big number is made up of heating control systems, smart refrigerators, internet-connected cars, and so on. That's how you get to such a big number.
Therefore the Internet of Everything isn't the total addressable market but the catalyst that will drive the complementary sale of IT infrastructure, applications and services to support it.
As part of our special editorial relationship, CRN is republishing this article from Channelnomics
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