The Next Level of Connectivity
The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) looks set to change our world in the same way the internet did. Latest forecasts are putting the number of IoT devices globally at 25 billion units by 2020.
But what exactly is the IoT and what impact is it going to have on us?
Simply put, it is the concept of connecting any device with an on/off switch to the internet (and/or to each other). It includes lighting and heating systems, smart phones, tablets, domestic appliances, toothbrushes, headphones, lamps, and wearable devices. It also applies to components of machines and even components that could be put inside our bodies. The IoT is a global network of connected things, including people. The relationship is between people-people, people-things and things-things.
How does this impact our industry?
In future, anything that can be connected, will be connected. There are many examples of what the potential value might be. Say for example you are on your way to a meeting, your driverless car would have access to your daily calendar and already know the best route to take, and if the traffic is heavy your car might send a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late.
Your personal robot could wake you at 6am, check your e-mail, make you a coffee and check the house to ensure the right water temperature for your shower.
What if your office equipment knew when it was running low on supplies and automatically re-ordered more or your fridge knew you had run out of beer and so made an online order to your favoured off-licence?
The IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place and opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges. Security is a big issue – with billions of devices connected, will someone be able to hack into your toaster and get access to your personal information?
Just as the internet allowed a huge number of new products to become popular, the IoT will lead to more connected devices as many new and valuable consumer products storm both the consumer and promotional world. Watch this space, embrace the ideas, understand the trends, or risk missing out on the largest technology opportunities for years.