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As the number of connected devices and sensors continues to grow at a rapid rate, huge amounts of new data are being generated, and analysis of this data is creating efficiency improvements in everything from traffic flow and healthcare to security and manufacturing. This growing network of devices and sensors is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), and many tech watchers are heralding the connectivity and data boom as the impetus for the next industrial revolution, as well as sweeping improvements to public and private life.

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IoT is already having an impact, but it's also still in the early phases of its evolution, and 2017 is on track to be a formative year for its progression. Click through the presentation below to learn about three trends that are shaping the future of the Internet of Things and what they could mean for companies including Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool's Board of Directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft.

Keith Noonan has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A and C shares) and Amazon.com. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.