The Internet of Things.
It's one of the greatest and biggest technology trends of all time. It's promising to boost our intelligence, make everyday household objects smarter and ultimately make dramatic changes to life as we know it. But if you're still unclear of what exactly it is and what difference it's making in the world, you're certainly not alone.
By now, most of us have heard of it or have got a faint idea of what it's all about - but how it's overshadowing all other technology and breaking into the business world with such a huge impact is what a lot of us still don't fully understand.
The first thing that comes as a surprise when talking about the Internet of Things is: it's not exactly new. It's actually been present for over ten years; making movement and paving its way slowly into the realm of high-tech industries and developments. So, trying to ignore the imminent incoming of this technology isn't an option anymore; and we need to prepare ourselves and our businesses for it.
To put it simply, the Internet of Things - or IoT - is the interconnection through the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday, commonly used objects; which enables them to send and receive data. This, in turn, contributes to the vast big data universe.
But the IoT already exists in several household objects. Even things that you might not realise yet. If you use a Fitbit, a smartwatch, the Amazon Echo or even a Smart TV - you've been using the Internet of Things. The predictions for how quickly it will advance are yet unclear; but some technology companies are adamant that we'll soon be using these processes in everything from our toasters, to our refrigerators to our cars.
It's true. The IoT has now emerged as a leading factor in the future state of the Internet. Its significance is massive. But the truth is, the value of the IoT only comes from the astounding mass of data that it's bound to produce. Once millions of home appliances are undoubtedly connected to the IoT, there is a real opportunity for monetary profit through analysing appliance behaviour. Such as; how often and when you wash your clothes, when you iron your shirts, when you microwave your meals, etc. This will, therefore, lead to businesses suddenly realising the money that can be made from applying predictive analysis with it.
In other words, there is huge money in the Internet of Things.
Some estimations state that the worldwide market for Internet of Things solutions will grow to $7.1 trillion by 2020. It might seem like an insane number, but these predictions are probably not a miscalculation. When you take a deeper look, the IoT can even be used in a lot of future scenarios that contribute to the improving progress of the world we live in. For example, protecting the environment will require multifaceted solutions, but the IoT can uniquely assist in addressing problems such as clean water, air pollution, landfill waste and deforestation. Sensor-enabled devices can also help by monitoring the environmental impact of cities, sewers, air quality and the build-up of rubbish.
The line of where the IoT will stop definitely hasn't been drawn yet. The limit of its capabilities doesn't exist.
The big idea surrounding the phenomenon is that many homes will soon be considered 'Smart Homes' - which is one of the primary application areas for the IoT. This would mean that your TV could communicate with your mobile phone, which could communicate with your toaster, your fridge, your watch, your heating system, your shower and pretty much every gadget that sits in your house. They will be able to talk to each other.
By the end of 2015, IoT devices had begun to pop up in the technology market, including a smart cup which tells you how much water to drink and a stealth gadget which ensures the security of other connected IoT devices. Even in the field of industrial robotics, the IoT has been well underway for a few years now.
With all of this information in mind, we believe that the IoT is also going to change the way that we do business on a fundamental level. But how?
The IoT will allow companies to build and produce smarter products. For instance, car companies will have the ability to implement similar connectivity features in their automotive services. Sports companies will introduce IoT to equipment, enabling them to be more useful and connected to the user. The list of possibilities goes on and on. Some products will fly, some will flop; but the bottom line is: businesses will have the opportunity and the imperative to make more connected products.
The IoT will also encourage smarter business operations, and perhaps even dramatic changes in business models. However, many organisations continue to lack the right skills to develop, manage and deploy the IoT solutions, especially in areas such as data analytics and cyber security. This isn't all bad though; because the lack of capable employees to devise solutions for these problems is good news for top IT contractors and developers.
When the IoT initially began to emerge, there was a hurry to connect everything because of the excitement of such innovative, revolutionary technology. Now businesses have moved on from this rushed approach. Data is a new business staple, and as the technology has matured, so has the thinking about how to put this data to use. Sensors are now deployed more strategically, or to solve particular problems, and helping businesses to do this is where a whole new wave of tech-savvy contractors comes in.
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