If you have been following the technology section of news, you may have come across this term quite a few times. Notwithstanding the massive changes to our lifestyles since the advent of the internet, technology gurus have predicted that we have barely scratched the surface of the possibilities. “Internet of Things” is expected to be the next massive revolution in the technology space.
So what exactly is IoT? At a simplistic level, it refers to interacting with various devices and gadgets over the internet. For instance, did you forget to switch off the lights while you started off on your long vacation? A simple tap on a mobile app should do that for you with IoT. But that’s again the tip of the iceberg. Here is a quote from a recent article on Metro that should give you a better idea of where we are headed:
“Your alarm wakes you at the correct time after checking your schedule and adjusting itself for traffic and transport delays. Your coffee machine begins brewing, the heating and hot water turn on (adjusting the temperature according to the weather) and the car starts de-icing the windscreen.”
The Internet of Things, or Thingternet as we like to call it will definitely revolutionize the world over the next decade. According to a Gartner study, IoT will bring in close to $1.9 trillion worth of economic value add by 2020. That’s nearly 30 billion devices connected to the internet by then.
While the prediction appears exaggerated at the moment, we will get there with the right infusion of technology infrastructure. Enterprises today have already connected through high speed business internet plans to make them ready for the deployment of IoT at the workplace. This however cannot be said for domestic consumers. Although the average broadband speed in the US is a good 24.5 Mbps, some parts of the country still have extremely low speed internet connections. A lot of potential use-cases with IoT come in a domestic household environment and in the absence of a sufficiently good internet infrastructure, IoT may not take off.
The priority for governments across the world over the next 5 years needs to be on enhancing their internet infrastructure. Going by Gartner’s prediction, we are predicting a scenario where nearly 30-50 billion devices could be fitted with IoT within the next six years. That’s a massive addition of client devices to an already crowded ecosystem. It will be interesting to see how governments act on building the infrastructure in time for us to truly bear the fruits of the IoT innovation.