The future of connectivity: The Internet of things
The ‘Internet of Things’ (or IoT) has become a buzzword bandied about in techy and non-techy circles alike over the last few years. Unfortunately, like all buzzwords its meaning has become muddied by use and few appreciate the seismic change in connectivity that the IoT represents. However, many prominent writers and powerful organizations ranging from Deloitte IBM have recognised the potential of the IoT to change our world; as well as the ways it already does. This edition of the future of connectivity will explore the Internet of Things and what embracing this new technological wave means for our industry and the world at large.
‘The future of connectivity involves a dramatic evolution for the device landscape, with a virtually unlimited number of things that can be connected’ – Deloitte.
The term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) was termed by Kevin Ashton, Co-founder of MIT’s Auto ID lab, in an industry presentation in 1999. As early as the 90s, Kevin identified the potential for the integration of everyday objects into a worldwide network capable of sending and receiving data, also known as; the internet.
Ghosts in our stuff.
The Internet of Things is exactly what the name suggests; every day, conventional objects that can send and receive data over the internet. The IoT has crept into our lives without many of us noticing it, or even if we did, questioning it for a second. Alarm systems, fridges, watches, cars and lights are now commonly connected to the internet in a way that was unimaginable only a few years ago. These things might seem mundane and just a natural progression of connectivity away from classic data-driven devices. The application of data to every aspect of our lives now seems so normal that the revolution being brought about by the IoT has one largely unnoticed having been tacitly accepted as just one more degree of connectivity in our hyper-integrated world.
The invisible revolution.
If we stop and think, we should all see how ground-breaking this advance has been and will continue to be. The potential of the IoT is perhaps best demonstrated through two concepts: niche use and automation. An example of a niche use of the IoT is farmers using internet-enables soil sensors to maximise their crop yield, resulting in greater productivity and cheaper prices for us all. These sensors are also being used to fight famine in countries where climate disasters threaten food security for billions of people. They may even take us as far as the stars; data coming from these sensors is being gathered by NASA in order to help us understand how to produce foods on other planets. Does the IoT seem like just the next step in convenience now? The incredible potential of the IoT is also evident in its effects on automation. Imagine an IoT-enable gas pipeline. If a leakage occurred, IoT sensors could detect it, order a repair and perhaps even begin to actualise it before any engineers, managers or consumers were even aware of the problem. The world humanity has built is becoming aware of itself, with the capacity to ‘heal’ (or at least become aware of an issue) without any human intervention. I bet you’re looking at your smartwatch a little differently now.
It’s already here.
The IoT is a revolutionary step forward in connectivity and like many great advancements, seems so obvious in retrospect that its implementation has been mundane. However, here at Convergence Group we are always looking to the next big thing. We strive to be aware of the future, and to play our part in making it happen. We are forward thinking, agile and our vision is clear. The IoT is going to be a huge part of the future of connectivity, and guess what?
So are we.
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