Published: April 28, 2016
JORDAN DEN HERDER
In the latter half of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution began to take its foothold on the world and alter it drastically. The implementation of new and bizarre inventions and ideas changed the past ways of manufacturing, transportation, power and even capital.
Little do many people know that now, in the 21st Century, we may be experiencing a similar transformation that may have innumerable effects on the way we do business and even the way we live life. This transformation may have the potential to influence our culture and society even more so than the Industrial Revolution did 200 and 300 years ago. An idea was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton of MIT but is still new to very many people. It is the “Internet of Things.”
The Internet of Things, IoT, refers to the concept that nearly everything can or will, at some point, be connected to everything else via the internet cloud network. The result of this would be a perfectly “smart” world, where objects would be monitored and controlled such that they would continually work at maximum efficiency and productivity without any necessary interaction with a human.
Imagine something small such as street lights dimming and brightening based off its connection with an oncoming vehicle, or speed limit signs changing due to current weather conditions that could also warn or even govern oncoming traffic if it is a perilous situation. Now picture something on a larger, more technical scale, maybe a completely automated artificial intelligence with the ability to access company data and assess and implement optimal decisions that arise within a company. There is almost unlimited potential gain with such sorts of connections, whether it be cost or energy reduction, saving firms’ or consumers’ time or even the possibility of saving a life.
As far as your creativity may take you, know that many of these types of products and inventions already exist and are being used, and more complex ones are continually being worked on and improved.
The Nest Learning Thermostat created by NestLabs, a Google subsidiary, is a “smart” thermostat. After a few days, this thermostat will learn its owner’s preferences and change temperatures automatically. Beyond this, it is connected to your phone where temperature updates can be received and temperatures changed. This Thermostat can also connect with other products like the Nest Cam for home security, Nest Protect for maximum safety protection or even Whirlpool washers and dryers to ensure fresh and wrinkle-free laundry.
Microsoft Dynamics Consumer Relationship Management is an intelligence that can oversee and maintain a company’s relations with their suppliers and their customers, logging all the data and providing opportunities for companies to improve their business dramatically. Imagine a system that could essentially replace the better part of a marketing team, drastically improve a sales team and be way ahead of any service team, all because of its integration into the IoT.
“It’s really amazing how far technology has come and where it can take us in the future. It seems like there won’t be an end to all our possibilities.” Ryan McGurrin a current junior at The University said.
These are obviously only a few of the changes that will certainly be implemented into businesses and even into everyday life within the forthcoming years. Currently only a handful of years into the IoT, these two items do not even scratch the surface of possibilities.
It is no surprise that the IoT is expected to grow at amazing levels in the near future, and it is important to recognize who is already ahead of the competition, companies like IBM, Google and Microsoft for example. These companies realize the potential in such a “smart” world and are working to capitalize on the prospects.
Though the Internet of Things is far from fool-proof, the benefits of a fully integrated world can undeniably outweigh its dangers. It is important for the Internet of Things to evolve maturely to protect those of us who will be affected by it.
Going forward, this huge idea will become more and more relevant in our lives, and it is essential that we are aware of what it is and how we can utilize it to its full potential.
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