It is no secret that the business environment of today is changing and developing at a tremendous pace. Various factors such as a changing political landscape, the emergence of disruptive technologies and additional social responsibility are all acting as drivers of this change. However, one of the biggest and most significant drivers of all is without a doubt the Internet of Things (IoT).
For most of us the IoT means nothing more than typing something into the Google search engine or to read up about some interesting fact on Wikipedia. It is important to realise that this is only the tip of an extremely big iceberg.
On a daily basis individuals and companies alike need to process large amounts of data into useful information. Converting data into information is not a new concept but the amounts of data available today and the pace at which this conversion needs to happen are more significant today than it was ever before and the pressure to do it will only increase.
So why all the excitement?
The speed at which new breakthroughs are happening at the moment is astonishing and has no historical precedent. In fact, it is so astonishing that the world economic forum is referring to it as a Fourth Industrial Revolution. In the past a company could have a competitive advantage if it acknowledged that these changes were occurring. Today, however, most companies mere survival depends on significant investments in software and skilled people that will enable it to keep up with the pace and challenges brought about by these changes. The IoT is at the center of everything.
It is the integration and connection of literally anything that has the ability to transfer data. Anything from mechanical and digital machines, objects, humans, animals, the possibilities are endless. When you start looking around you, you will realise that almost everything has the possibility of being connected.
“And instead of trying to reach out and try and understand why people felt moved to vote for Trump, despite knowing who he is, everyone just retreated to their filtered little bubbles online, bellowing their opinions to people who are already in agreement and enjoy having them echoed back.”
What this means for us?
is that now there won’t only be devices communicating to like devices, but that machines can communicate with sensors so we are not only referring to M2M connections anymore. All the data in the world means nothing if there is no system in place to analyse or make use of it. Now machine-to-sensor communication will take care of all of that, which allows for so much more implementing of sensors into about anything, because data won’t be wasted and serve a specific purpose.
These devices solely focus on handheld devices and smartphones. They do not need to be plugged in and can connect wirelessly. An example of a smart wearable devise is the Pebble. The Pebble connects to your smartphone and can relay information from your phone straight to your wrist. The settings of your Pebble are customisable and you can control everything from your phone calls, music, and messages and so much more from the close comfort of your wrist.
Music and video is such a big part of everyone’s life that smart media devices deserves a special spot in smart appliances. Apple TV is one of the most popular smart media devices at the moment. It allows for convenience and integration between your Apple devices to make leisure so much easier. The ability to get to know you and recommend media that the viewer would be interested in is one of the core functions of a smart media device, to make viewing, listening or managing media files so much easier.
A fantastic new example of smart appliances is Nest, it allows for all your appliances to connect. Nest also has its own selection of products such as their thermostat, smoke alarm, indoor and outdoor cam that forms the hart of your home. These appliances can communicate with each other to make your home functional and smart. Nest can even connect to other devices in your house that are not Nest, you just need to look for the “works with Nest” badge on the product. Slowly connecting you with your home.
Home automation is the ability to have a smart home where everything is connected, where each appliance is a part in the unified unit. With everything connected, your house can get to know you through every smart appliance you use, and predict what your needs and likes are when home, or away. Samsung’s SmartThings allows you to control your whole home from your phone. It is as easy as installing the app on your phone, then just start adding smart devices to your smart home. The SmartThings app allows you to control your smart devices with a simple tap, to receive important notifications about what is happening at home and also to automate your home to react to your preferences.
In order for ‘things’ to connect and work as a unit, companies would have to make their devices and appliances compatible with other so they can connect and function. In order to move forward brands will have to stick together. As billions of devices connect to networks and begin talking to each other, vast new potentials are being unlocked.