There's a strong division of IT executives on whether the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) is reality or nothing more than hype, but a CompTIA report shows that the complexities of delivering hardware, software, rules and services in the IoT ecosystem will provide IT businesses of all sizes with plenty of opportunities for revenue generation.

The "Sizing up the Internet of Things" research brief notes predictions that indicate the number of devices connected to the Internet will grow from 14.4 billion in 2014 to more than 50 billion by 2020. Of course, many of those will connect into cloud services in fashion or another, which could provide cloud services providers with a number of new opportunities beyond what they have today.

"Many IoT elements are rooted in traditional IT components, which is good news for IT companies experienced in building and linking complex systems," said Seth Robinson, senior director of Technology Analysis at CompTIA, in a prepared statement. "At the same time, we're likely to see the emergence of many new firms focused on specific aspects of these systems, such as devices and data analysis. The true value of IoT will come from the combination and connectivity of all pieces."

The real question is how IT companies will make money. Here's what IT executives believe such organizations are most likely to profit from:

  • Device companies - 45 percent
  • Data analytics/big data companies - 43 percent
  • Companies skilled at tying services together using APIs - 35 percent
  • IT solutions providers - 30 percent
  • Telecom carriers and cable companies - 26 percent
  • Networking equipment/software companies - 25 percent
  • Sensor/chip companies - 23 percent
  • Platform and ecosystem providers - 15 percent

For many in the cloud channel, the foundation is already in place to take advantage of the future opportunities that will come from IoT. For those who haven't yet aligned, now may be the time to think it over.