The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work. But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you. There are a lot of complexities around the “Internet of things” but I want to stick to the basics.
So What Is The Internet Of Things?
this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT. The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices… That’s a lot of connections. The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.
How is the IoT actually going to change our lives?
The new rule for the future is going to be, “Anything that can be connected, will be connected.” But why on earth would you want so many connected devices talking to each other? There are many examples for what this might look like or what the potential value might be. Say for example you are on your way to a meeting; your car could have access to your calendar and already know the best route to take. If the traffic is heavy your car might send a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late. What if your alarm clock wakes up you at 6 a.m. and then notifies your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you? What if your office equipment knew when it was running low on supplies and automatically re-ordered more? What if the wearable device you used in the workplace could tell you when and where you were most active and productive and shared that information with other devices that you used while working. On a broader scale, the IoT can be applied to things like transportation networks: “smart cities” which can help us reduce waste and improve efficiency for things such as energy use; this helping us understand and improve how we work and live.
The Internet of Things is creating a new world, a quantifiable and measureable world, where people and businesses can manage their assets in better informed ways, and can make more timely and better informed decisions about what they want or need to do. This new connected world brings with it fundamental changes to society and to consumers. By sensing our surrounding environment, the IoT will create many practical improvements in our world, increasing our convenience, health and safety, while at the same time improving energy efficiency and comfort. The IoT will be a new source of wealth creation.
Conversations about the IoT are taking place all over the world as we seek to understand how this will impact our lives. Researchers are also trying to understand what the many opportunities and challenges are going to be as more and more devices start to join the IoT. For now the best thing that we can do is educate ourselves about what the IoT is and the potential impacts that can be seen on how we work and live.
A decade from now, we will be dependent on the knowledge derived from the continuous stream of data from our wearables and our smart home devices, and we will have no idea how we managed the world and our lives before. We will be able to make better informed, more accurate and more timely decisions; and decisions that will improve our lives, save us money, and may even save our planet. The IoT will make the difference