The Internet of Things (IoT) was first coined by Kevin Ashton in 1997 when he was working for Proctor & Gamble (P&G) as an assistant brand manager. Ashton was interested in using RFID to help manage P&G’s supply chain. Although he did garner some attention from executives at P&G, the term didn’t take flight until 10 years later. In 2013, an IDC report said that by 2020, IoT would be an $8.9 trillion market. A year later, the term IoT reached mass market awareness when Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion. Around the same time, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas had its first ever theme of IoT.
In the next three to five years, IoT it will not only create jobs, but impact nearly every aspect of our lives from medical advances, smart vehicles and homes, to green initiatives. Here are just a few ways we expect the Internet of Things to change, well, everything:
- Transportation via the Connected Car
In 1996, GM first dabbled in connectivity with OnStar, the emergency voice system. In 2001, remote diagnostics were introduced to vehicle platforms and by 2007 telematics data was exchanged. In 2014, Audi was the first OEM to offer WiFi as LTE. According to Accenture, the total business value of connected car services will reach €100 billion by 2020, and €500 billion by 2025.
There are already smartwatches and bands that track your fitness levels, heart rate, and calorie burn count. Some hospitals also have smart beds in which it can detect whether a room is occupied or not. But this is just the beginning. Just two months ago, Researchers successfully connected a human brain to the Internet. Their goal was to augment the human brain and better understand how the mind works. Furthermore, Goladman Saches recently predicted that IoT will revolutionize the healthcare system by lowering patient costs by $305 billion.
Usually, when people think of IoT, they think of the smart home. With the increased prevalence of smart fridges, lights, and thermostats, homes are becoming more and more connected. In the future, though, your home will be able to recognize you by your heartbeat. John Bowers, CEO of JCC Bowers thinks the future of smart homes is deep learning: “Smart home tech and machine learning will eventually predict and automate menial tasks in our daily lives. Things like: shutting the lights off, avoiding traffic, and home heating and cooling will all become tasks left for the internet of things.”
In Retail, IoT is helping brick and mortar stores enhance the consumer experience. Retailers’ smartphone apps tracks not only track customer’s’ purchasing history but also their movements in the store. This empowers the retailers to serve the customer hyper-targeted coupons. Additionally, some stores already have smart mirrors in fitting rooms that already know’s shoppers’ tastes and can offer up similar items right from the mirror. With a quick click, a shopper can indicate their preference and a store employee brings the extras straight to the dressing room. A study by Qualtrics predicts that: “by 2021, retailers are planning investments in Internet Of Things (70%), machine learning/cognitive computing (68%) and automation (57%).”
When it comes to the Internet of Things, most people don’t think of going green. However, it is widely believed that smart homes and cars will have a huge environmental impact by reducing fuel and energy consumption. There are several initiatives underway to collect and analyze data from smart devices to empower consumers to make better choices about their energy consumption. In addition to education, the Internet of things is enabling innovative energy harvesting technologies. Bettina Tratz-Ryan, green IT specialist and research vice-president at Gartner cites energy harvesting as “a huge component of innovation that the IoT, specifically, can drive.” Optimizing energy consumption is not only good for the environment, but has brought about the enablement of smart farming wherein drones and smart irrigation systems are helping farmers optimize their crop yield.