If you’re like me and love to follow the latest tech trends, over the past few years you have seen some pretty sexy high-tech announcements – driverless cars, smart thermostats and homes, wearables – all incredibly interesting and thought provoking. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg…
In fact, as with any new wave of technology, the press releases and splashy announcements barely scratch the surface. In fact, it’s often what’s going on below the glitzy surface that is the really exciting part. In the machine to machine (M2M) and internet of things (IoT) space, we’re currently at the blade of that “hockey stick” growth trend that many say will yield more than 50 billion connected devices over just the next 5 years. http://share.cisco.com/internet-of-things.html
What does that mean for you and me? That’s really not the right question. The right question is “what do we want it to mean?” Do we want billions of connected devices to predict when we want our coffee machine to come on in the morning, inform us of traffic or flight delays, or refrigerator to monitor not just its temperature, but also its inventory? Do we want our car to start itself as you enter your garage, diagnose developing mechanical problems and schedule necessary service, automatically update the latest firmware and features, drive us to work and find a parking spot, connecting to our other smart devices along the way to provide suggestions and recommendations for things we may need to pick up?
Do we want our favorite restaurant to remember our preferences so that servers can make informed recommendations we may actually like, monitor inventories and automatically adjust the menu so that all listed items are always available, order from home via any smart device, see updated food listings, pictures and detailed nutritional information, and cook food automatically to precisely the degree of doneness we ordered?
And behind the scenes the same M2M and IoT technology is allowing companies in all business sectors monitor and manage data remotely, allowing them to make better and more timely data-driven decisions to operate more efficiently and save money. A cooler or freezer sends a text alert to a restaurant owner notifying him that the temperature is rising, allowing the business owner to quickly take action to protect valuable inventory. A smart vending machine monitors its inventory, calling for replenishment only when needed and telling the delivery driver specifically what to unload from the truck, saving unnecessary trips, time and money.
And we are just getting started!
Just imagine the possibilities! And it’s not just about the capabilities of the technology. It’s about using the technology to create solutions to everyday problems – for people, for individual businesses, and for industries. Because when machines talk to other machines, when the internet of things allows us to get real-time information delivered wirelessly to allow us to make better decisions – not only will we save time and money – we may also find solutions we never imagined, and then imagine even more.
Welcome to the future. Welcome to the internet of things.