Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and author of Zero to One, once stated that “future is a relative term”. If something drastically changes (for good, he hopes) in, say 2 years, then the future is very near at hand, and on the other hand if nothing drastically changes for, say a 100 years, then the future is very far away. The topic that we take in our hand today, namely IoT – Internet of Things, has the potential of being that drastic change that brings the future closer at hand, and maybe at a rate no one expects.
The IoT is a relatively very new topic, with the coin being termed only in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, and the concept, that we use in the modern sense, converging in 2013. In the short span of its existence, IoT has seeped into various conversation platters, so much so now that it has become the hotbed of technological innovations with every major company trying to be a part of this new “emerging storm”. So, so far we have seen that IoT is a pretty big deal, everyone is trying to be a part of it, but what exactly is IoT? If you’re a part of the population who has once maybe heard a running reference to IoT in some conversation, but didn’t exactly know what it means, look no further.
In the most basic sense, IoT is a concept of connecting any device with an ON/OFF switch to the internet. This includes your Smartphone, TV, Coffee Maker, Washing Machine, Car, AC, Heater and almost anything else you
can think of. This also applies to various components of machines like engines of airplanes and cars.
Various experts have predicted that by 2020 there will be over 50 billion connected devices, and that is a huge number. IoT is the enormous network/connection of “things” (which also includes people). The connection can be between anything, people-people, people-things, and things-things.
So, how does all of this impact you? The rule of the future will stand as, “everything that can be connected, will be connected”. With the broadband internet available cheaply, and the “smart”-device penetration ever increasing, the stage is set for IoT to take over the world. There are various examples to show how this will affect your life, so let’s take an example of an ordinary day in the future, and see how is it different with IoT :
You wake up to the thundering sound of your alarm clock at 6 AM (some things never changes), but as soon as you wake up the alarm clock notifies your Water Heater to prepare a tub of hot water, and also to your Coffee Maker to start brewing that fresh cup of coffee for you (pretty amazing, right ?) You have your breakfast, get in your car, but your car already knows your calendar, so it automatically decides for the easiest route to take to your desired location. In the car, you are stuck in a tremendous traffic jam (Indian roads, eh!) so your car automatically notifies the concerned people that you’re going to be late. You reach your office, you find that that the office has run out of a certain stationary item, but it’s smart place so that particular item has already been ordered for, and its on its way.
And the day goes on in the same amazing way. That was just one scenario of some possibilities of a possible endless stream of possibilities. On a macro level, IoT also allows us for the setting up of “smart cities” with improved efficiency and advanced waste management. An interconnected system, only bettering itself with every level. Take a look at how Amazon plans to revolutionize its services using IoT:
The reality is, IoT presents us with an endless stream of opportunities, some of which we can’t even comprehend right now. Of course, there are security risks involved with the immense network that is formed. But efforts are being made to make the robust, secure system that effectively brings us to the future that we envisioned here, but keeping our security concerns at bay. We are at threshold of the breakthrough that changes everything that we think about our future, and we can be a part of it too. What we need to do is educate ourselves and be better equipped for the time IoT becomes the reality.