The Internet of Things (IoT) is a phrase that is becoming more and more common. It can be used to refer to everything from smartphones to smart houses. In a nutshell, it is the interconnectivity between all these different smart gadgets flooding the market and the Internet.
Business Insider estimates by 2020 there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices. But, just as personal computers and the Internet changed the world as we know it, so too will the Internet of things begin to change the world around us more and more. Here are ten ways things might change in the coming years from the view of Vince Robinson, CEO of ScalaHosting.
1. Appliances Will Do the Work for You
Have you ever wished you didn’t have to spend so much time building a grocery list, or that you could just place your order and pick it up? Smart appliances are not only on the market but are doing more and more.
For example, Samsung's Family Hub refrigerator does everything from play hit tunes to managing your grocery list for you. The concept of grocery management is fairly simple. When the door of the refrigerator opens and closes, there are three cameras that take photos of the interior of your fridge. You can then access the photos from your smartphone to see what you're out of and need to buy.
2. The Internet Will Become More of an Ecosystem
Although there has been a shift in the way the Internet works, with people beginning to hook up more than one device to a hub, there are still many apps and websites that work independently of one another online. As more and more devices become smart and hook into a central hub that is your life, your neighborhood, your town, and your world, the Internet will become more of an ecosystem.
For all of these devices to share information and work efficiently, they are going to have to become more and more interconnected and figure out faster and better ways to communicate with one another.
3. Cloud Hosting Will Explode
The only way that the Internet can become an efficient ecosystem is through the use of cloud hosting. Adding sensors to devices isn't going to help at all if there isn't a basic infrastructure to gather the data and send it back out in the correct format and language. The only way to accomplish this is with cloud-based applications. It just isn't possible for the IoT to work without the cloud, because the cloud allows your apps to follow you wherever you go.
4. Healthcare Will Improve
The very nature of IoT is well-suited to healthcare. Already, it collects and monitors data from devices, so it only makes sense that more and more doctors and the hospital will utilize emerging technology to track vital statistics of their patients. Some hospitals have already begun to use smart beds to inform nurses when a patient leaves their bed and also can adjust to the most comfortable position for an individual patient. Many of these devices can help lessen the work of overloaded nurses.
5. You’ll Avoid Traffic Jams
In today’s major cities at rush hour, getting to and from work is a nightmare. Imagine a world where not only the cars are smart, but so are the streets and the traffic lights. If the flow of traffic is heavier in one direction, stop lights could be automatically adjusted to create the most efficient timing possible.
The smart highway is already in development and will make roads more energy efficient by using solar energy and glowing lanes to reduce the need for costly street lamps. The smart highway will also be safer, warning of icy conditions. In theory, the highway could even be used as a charging mechanism for electric cars.
6. Renewable Energy Will Continue to Grow
There will likely be more of a push toward renewable energy as devices turn to green sources to stay powered. Transportation is the place most likely to see big changes in this area, but connected homes could easily run off solar and wind power. There is also a proposal for a Smart Grid in place, where power would be distributed more efficiently and would be less likely to have blackouts and brownouts. Smart meters and thermostats will also have an impact.
7. There’ll be a More Abundant Food Supply
Farmers may not be quick to adapt to the new technology, but eventually, it will start to filter to the farms as well. As farmers realize the benefits of assessing potential conditions of a crop in real time, getting an analysis, and knowing exactly how to proceed, more of them will use smart devices in farming.
This will likely lead to more abundant crops. Now, if only the world could figure out a smart way to get the access food to all corners of the earth.
8. The Way We Shop Will Change Again
Already, the Internet has forever changed the way we shop as a society. Instead of going to the local mom and pop store up the street, consumers turn to megastores such as Walmart or Amazon. However, the IoT promises to change shopping even more. Have you ever gone to the store for a specific item and found it out of stock? With smarter devices and the ability to track inventory through an interconnected system, stores will be better able to predict buying patterns and stock what is needed. This could potentially drive down costs as well since there will be less waste.
9. You’ll be Less Secure
Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of all this connectivity is that your information will be less private and your security needs will be greater. Criminals have a way of figuring out weaknesses in any system. With more and more devices hooking up to the IoT, security is going to become one of the most important aspects of our lives.
10. You’ll Live in a Smart World!
You might love this concept and you might have visions of George Orwell’s 1984 and Big Brother. Will technology and data take over every aspect of our lives? It almost seems like it. Imagine the world ten or twenty years from now. You’ll get out of your smart bed that measured your sleep patterns and adjusted pressure and incline to help you get a good night’s sleep. You’ll brush your teeth with your smart toothbrush that will send a report to your dentist and let you know if you have any cavities starting. You’ll go to your smart refrigerator and pull out the milk, and the fridge will add milk to your shopping list because it notices you are almost out. You get the idea. This is all in the first 30 minutes you’re away. Your entire day will continue in this vein, from the car you drive to the buildings you enter.
The IoT has so many possibilities that it is impossible to imagine all the changes that are going to occur in the coming years. One thing is certain, though, we are going to be living in a more and more connected world when it comes to electronics, but we may need to be careful we don’t disconnect from other humans because of it.