Long time I want to write about the IoT (Internet of Things) or m2m (Machine to Machine). Therefore because I know it first hand and have worked for several related projects, such as the fact that it's the next revolution (already in progress) that will change many of our current behaviors and routines, the same way they did before the PC or the smartphone. And what better time than today, Day for the Internet of Things.
We are constantly bombarded with "nostradamusians" reports trying to predict the future of a technology more astrologically than astronomically. In most of them, there are groups or lobbies behind interested in a technology or some type of device succeed in a crowded market of similar solutions. However, this time I've run into one of those reports which gives the impression that there are serious people behind. Beyond concepts like Ubernet or changes in business models to a 100% digital DNA , I stay with such a natural way that is now taken for implanted (even deployed in many locations) the technology based on IoT.
The city, under regulation
And when I say the interconnectedness of things, I mean ALL the things. You can imagine anything around you in the city. Think of it like a smartphone. Imagine, from that moment, the huge number of new applications that can have that thing. A simple wastepaper basket can serve as a pedestrians or vehicles counter, warn of pollution levels, alert when it is full to collect, provide customed advertising Minority Report style or even be receiving waste from people. In fact, the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) talk of regulating Smart Cities through legislation, so pay a parking through our phone be exactly the same in Amsterdam or Malaga (which, by the way, is one of the most advanced cities in Spain regarding the deployment of smart solutions for the city).
It may seem trivial (and probably is) the example of the wastepaper basket, but it's just a simple way to illustrate the enormous potential of interconnection elements without human intervention. Without human intervention at the time of their operation and how they communicate with other devices, because obviously someone had to pre-program the use cases that affect the daily life of that element, and how and when it must be communicate with what. And what is more important: human intervention will be crucial when dealing with hundreds of terabytes generated by these devices. The famous (and at the same time unknown) Big Data, discussed in depth shortly.
The caring things
These large amounts of information will be generated by over 30 billion devices that we expect to be connected near 2020, which makes essential a proportional growth in the number of developers needed to give "life" to those elements. It is already happening, but it will be within 5 to 10 years when this need is so important that even curricula have to adjust to these new professional demands of society. Just as it was for the kids of my generation teaching English at school (and out of school), surely we'll end up seeing our children receive programming classes in primary and secondary education. And depending the education they receive and the perception of society they have, so it will be the horizon of applications resulting of these developments.
It is here where there is the crux of the matter and where I wish this technology was really helpful and at service of the people. I hope that the evolution of all the "things" that end up being provided with a SIM card or an Internet access, will be based in common sense. Knowing as common sense the application of intelligence we give to the "things" in favour of social, educational and healthy profit for people. I'd be deeply disappointed that so much effort and such a powerful concept were lost in not real utility applications. When talking about innovation, we must not think of the screen that includes a refrigerator to post tweets or Instagram photos of what we will cook that day. That's not honest innovation. Our efforts with the IoT should focus on the health sector (Internet of Healthy things) , techniques for improving our awareness and relaxation (Internet of Mindful Things), in areas related to our security and that of those around us (Internet of Security and Safety things), and especially on issues related to improving our family tasks which, after all, are the really important ones.
Examples of innovative projects in all these areas can be found in most existing crowdfunding platforms (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Fundable ... ), but innovative projects that provide real and honest value to society, maybe not that many. This article by Trend Watching, brilliantly explains what must be and where it has to go IoT industry so that we can perceive it as something that brings value to our daily lives . Clothing that measures the effort of our body, containers that control the amount of water ingested daily, masks that detect our optimal sleep patterns, visitors detectors at home or screens that project images on the hull of a biker of the blind angles to avoid collisions, are just a few of the hundreds, thousands, of examples of projects that are just around the corner. We do not want a world full of interconnected "things". We want to interconnect the things that really matter.