It wasn’t long ago that the idea of having a little verbal chat with a device to control your lighting at home or having smart bins on the street or seeing self-driving cars – all seemed completely ludicrous. Well, we’re not quite there yet with the cars but we’re getting very close!
Kevin Ashton who is credited with coining the phrase “the Internet of Things” defines it in this quote:
“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.”
Today IoT is a phrase that’s used all the time and we interact with it on a daily basis, from smartphones, to smart homes and smart cities. Just as PC’s changed the world radically – the interactivity and growth in IoT devices will probably have an even bigger impact in the long-run….. but how might it impact our lives over the next few years? It’s hard to say for certain but here’s five ideas how the Internet of Things could change our lives……
The Heat is On
Gartner predicts that by 2020 there’ll be over 20 billion smart devices sending data to us, the cloud and each to other. For a long time, we’ve been hearing about smart home devices that can save you money on your bills by reducing costs and making things more efficient. There isn’t one really dominant brand or product yet, but Nest Learning Thermostat is proving the most popular for reducing electricity bills. It controls your houses thermostat by learning your schedule and allowing you to control it from your phone.
You can expect to see more products from the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon in this space in the near future.
Fancy making a coffee from your bed or letting your fridge order its own food for delivery? Well the Samsung Family Hub is probably the closest device available at the moment. You can create shopping lists and sync them to your phone and also see inside your fridge from your smart phone. When the door opens and closes three cameras take a snapshot of the interior. That way you can see what you need to buy from anywhere on the planet and never run out of milk again!
IoT is very well suited to healthcare. Collecting data from devices and transmitting them to medical professionals can greatly improve efficiency. Some hospitals have already started to use smart devices and scanners to allow their team to spot problems early and become more efficient – ultimately improving care for their patients.
No More Traffic Jams
Well we can dream, at least can’t we?! In a world where the commute is one of the most tiresome tasks of many people’s daily lives – having smart cars and smart traffic lights that can improve the flow and help us get home a little quicker – will be a much-welcomed innovation.
In 2013 The Netherlands, Germany and Austria started testing the idea of a smart motorway stretching from Rotterdam to Vienna, so perhaps we’ll see some developments here in the future….
With more connectivity, comes more security issues so we can expect to see a growth in information security training and IT security upskilling. This will be essential to combat criminal elements trying to access all the data that will be available and using it for illegal purposes.
With smart devices tracking our movements and activities, having good data security is going to be one of the most important aspects of our future lives – and one of the biggest challenges.