The future of the Internet of Things
In the past few years we have seen a huge rise of M2M (machine to machine) communication. Whereas in the early 00s we only had our PCs connected to the internet, we now have multiple devices which are connected either to the internet, or to each other in our homes. For example, we are now able to turn on our lights through our tablets, which are connected with each other through Wi-Fi. Gartner stated that in 2022 an average family home could contain more than 500 smart devices1.
Daniel Burrus even argues that the Internet of Things goes well beyond the scope with which we now view it. He notes that as of now everyone views the Internet of Things as just simply the communication between two machines. He argues that the real strength of the Internet of Things comes from the combination of combining sensors and machines. Sensors are the means of gathering data, whilst machines are the means through which data is leveraged2.
As an example he gives the possibility of smart cement, which is cement outfitted with sensors. These sensors can monitor stresses, cracks, and warpages. With this data readily available it will be a lot easier to maintain for example bridges.
Whilst a lot of people recognize the massive amounts of opportunities that the Internet of Things brings with it, there are also skepticisms. Theo Priestley argues for example that there is no real added value in ‘smart products’. He gives an example of a smart oven, which waits for you to be on your way home before starting to heat your dinner. He argues that the smart oven won’t actually prepare the food for you the night before, so what is the added convenience3.
According to a research done by Nielsen in 2014, the following things have turned up as desired by the consumers:
Personally I am a big fan of the Internet of Things, and I am very excited by the prospects it offers. Although I do not believe the Internet of Things will be the solution to big world problems, I do believe it will help us understand our world a lot better.