If you’ve lived in Gateway for more than 24 hours, you’ve heard of Gartner.

After a year of living here you’ve probably driven by their building on Gateway Boulevard a few hundred times, seen the new building they’re putting up, and a bunch of people have told you they’re pretty sure that Gartner does some techie-type stuff.

In a nutshell, Gartner (NYSE: IT) is a company filled with experts in analyzing the current technology infrastructures of large companies and then advising those businesses on what they should be doing to prepare for the future.

Part of their job is to identify technology trends, and part of their strategy is to report those trends in a we-can-see-the-future type way.

So when Gartner tells people what they believe is coming – it makes media members who focus on business and technology issues go crazy with excitement. Gartner didn’t disappoint when they recently announced they predict over 250 million cars will be connected to the internet by 2020 as part of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’.

The IoT is a term (that’s gaining acceptance in the tech world) which means any physical device such as a refrigerator or garage door opener that’s connected to the internet.

“The connected car is already a reality, and in-vehicle wireless connectivity is rapidly expanding from luxury models and premium brands, to high-volume midmarket models,” said James Hines in a statement from Gartner. Hines is a Research Director at the company.

He added, “The increased consumption and creation of digital content within the vehicle will drive the need for more sophisticated infotainment systems, creating opportunities for application processors, graphics accelerators, displays and human-machine interface technologies. At the same time, new concepts of mobility and vehicle usage will lead to new business models and expansion of alternatives to car ownership, especially in urban environments.”

Basically, Hines thinks your car is going to become an iPad on wheels. And it may want to take a selfie.

In Gartner’s recent report titled 2015 Predicts: The Internet of Things the company also said the number of total devices connected to the internet will exceed 25 billion. That’s more than a 600% increase from the estimated 3 to 4 billion connected devices in 2014.

Perhaps by the year 2020 your freezer will tell your microwave that you just took out a Hungry Man frozen dinner, and your microwave will automatically preset itself to the correct number of minutes to heat up your dinner.

It’s a crude example but these are the types of possibilities that Gartner envisions for our future. It seems anything is possible, and it will be Gartner’s job to keep current with and analyze all these innovations.

No wonder they need more buildings.

Gartner is based in Stamford, CT and has a market cap of $7.44B as of 1:35pm EST on January 28, 2015. Their website is gartner.com.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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