It says a lot about how deeply ingrained IoT has already become, with it not just being in a consumer standpoint. IoT is in your car, on your phone, your watch and your television.
The term Internet of Things is recent a buzzword. In the last few years, lots of TedTalks and articles talk about IoT as if it is a really new technology, but in fact, it isn’t. The difference now is, that it is becoming more integrated into everyday consumer products. Soon, it will be taken for granted that your smartwatch will be able to unlock the lock to your front door, or that smart house networks will know when you’re home and switch the heating on and turn the lights on. In theory, we can already do that. As consumers, the technology is already there to be able to run everything through our mobile devices. The next step is automating all those functions, to the point that we, as consumers, will not need to do anything more than installing the various tech in our homes.
Everything seems to get “smart” at the moment. Smart homes and smart cities are just the beginning. We all know about the leaps forward in automated driving, but another interesting area is smart cars. Not necessarily having cars drive completely autonomously, but using IoT to keep the cars safe, while driving on the roads. This can be done by having sensors in and around the cars while on the motorway for example. Then the computers in cars can maintain safe distances and speeds. Sort of improved cruise control.
And in farming, or smart farming, of all places, IoT is being used to help farmers keep track of cattle and livestock spread over a wide area of land. By using sensors on animals, they can not only know where all their livestock is, but also how much they weigh, and the healthiness of the animal. Much like how we, as humans, can use our smartwatches to track our health. The use of IoT in conjunction with robotics means that farmers are able to be much more efficient with the way they farm crops, and so more sustainable practices are being used.
A new wave of “E-Hotels” are making headway all over the world. The ability to check in to your hotel room via an app, as well as unlocking your room with your phone, is becoming more popular. At the moment, it is a bit of a gimmick. But in time, it might be that you will not need check-in staff at all, with sensors in the lobbies of hotels recognising your phone, and checking you in for you.
5G is the new mobile network, much like 4G, and 3G before it. 5G is an exciting new step towards automation and IoT. People are getting excited by the possibilities that 5G can provide, with more power to be able to run millions of independent devices, all without the need for human intervention. It will allow the infrastructure needed to carry massive amounts of data from one device to another. 5G is also more reliable, as well as providing download speeds of up to 1Gbps, with the right infrastructure.
All in all, the possibilities of IoT is basically limited only to our own imaginations. Obviously, security will be at the forefront of the conversation, and the sooner legislation is in place to protect the people using IoT, the better. The future, with IoT, is both exciting and daunting, with as many supporters as there are critics. But, as AI and Machine Learning improve, IoT will improve with it, making our lives easier, more efficient, and altogether easier. And with the advent of such networks being put in place, a whole new job market will emerge, people will still need to run the networks themselves at the end of the day. The world will need more programmers, cybersecurity specialists, data analysts and so much more. The people that worry that jobs will be lost because of AI, might not see that with AI, jobs will be created.