Lots of headlines are being made of late by technology like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 5G, 8K...in the consumer electronics world the list goes on and on. However, the tech that is lurking in the background, and moving along faster than anyone expected is the Internet of Things.
It is, in essence, the glue that will eventually hold all automation together - the secret sauce that will add the necessary flavor. Perhaps University of Bedfordshire, Computer Science and Technology Professor Edewede Oriwoh explains the IoT best when he says, “The Internet of Things is not a concept; it is a network, the true technology-enabled Network of all networks.”
That works for us. And despite the fact this IoT “network” has spent the last several years infiltrating the tech sector, if you ask the average consumer about it, they’re really not sure exactly what it is. From the more aware folks you might get, “It will help my fridge tell me when I’m low on milk or when my veggies are about to go bad.”
But alas, it is so much more and the impact it will eventually have won’t merely be game changing, it will be life changing.
First, a few rather staggering IoT numbers from Gartner: Global technology spending on the IoT is expected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2022, and IoT devices and services were to reach an inflection point of 18% to 20% adoption by early 2020, bringing the number of IoT connected devices to over 20 billion. That’s quite the foundation being laid as you read this.
However, the IoT has far bigger fish to fry than things like handheld devices and household appliances, not to downplay the impact here as this will greatly enhance our lives and save us all lots of money.
The bigger fish I’m referring to include artificial intelligence, machine learning and delivering real-time data, the kinds of stuff that make this IoT steak truly sizzle.
IoT & Smart Cities
When you begin to think about the power of the IoT in a smart city setting the training wheels come off. Major businesses running more smoothly, traffic management taken to another level with far less congestion and fewer accidents, pollution levels will be dropped and cities will be more secure and significantly safer.
There will be warnings sounded to help avoid any electrical or water issues and mass transit systems will be far more efficient for commuters. The economic ramifications could be insane.
We are already seeing some groundbreaking applications courtesy of the IoT in the area of healthcare. IoT technology is enabling patient monitoring in real time, significantly cutting down unnecessary visits to doctors, hospital stays and re-admissions. A plethora of IoT-enabled devices have made truly effective remote monitoring in the healthcare sector possible, keeping patients safe and healthy. It has also increased patient engagement and satisfaction as interactions with doctors have become easier and more efficient.
Also in the works are IoT technologies that identify and collect data on cancer, tracking changes in body parameters at different stages of the disease to develop a technology that will determine the development of cancerous cells in the body at very early stages. Again, this is the kind of stuff that is happening now.
Yes, fresh veggies and milk are wonderful things that the IoT is delivering, but safer, more efficient cities and healthier populations are just a couple of things this “network of networks” has in store for us all down the road.