Iot- Internet of Things, has existed for quite some time now. Kevin Ashton in 1999 coined the term.
However, before it existed in detached spaces-ATMs for example. Since then it has started creeping its way into other areas of the human life such as our homes, kitchens, schools, and workplaces.
There is no doubt that it is becoming more ubiquitous. So why not have a look at some of the places we can hope to see it in the near future?
IoT is gaining more popularity because practical technology is being paired with intelligence. This could both be a good or a bad thing. It’s good because it means less remotes and less hassle and less unresponsiveness on the machine’s part. It is questionable because do we want intelligent data transmitters in our tv lounges? We will not go too deep into this topic as it has been discussed way too many times, even by us (though if you’re still interested you can read our take on it
The point we’re trying to make here is that the main feature that’s propelling smart homes and IoT right into the future is its accessibility. Everyone can use it. All you need to do is say ‘Alexa, play Despacito’.
We know it’s here and we are beginning to get used to it so now it really has no other option but to stay and flourish.
What does the future hold?
Where can we expect to see IoT in the near future, you ask? Well…
That’s crazy. Trees and technology in one place? Don’t be alarmed.
Agriculture is a big business. Smart farming will change the game for sure, if it is adopted at a big scale.
The areas that will be affected by this kind of advancement are:
Data collection- all farming related data, which is quite a lot if you really think about it (crop progress, soil condition, weather conditions, cattle health conditions) will be collected by smart tools. This will really help organize all this information and maintain records.
Automation of important processes– irrigation, maintaining proper fertilization levels, and regular pest control can all be achieved with the help of a machine that can process data; a smart machine. Automation would also mean that there is less wastage of resources because we’ll be working with machines that know when to stop and are intelligent problem solvers.
Surveillance of crop for better yield- more control over the processes of farming and more transparency means better yield…so that’s nice.
Smart greenhouses- the controlled environment of a greenhouse can be further optimized with accordance of the state of the crop to ensure efficiency and better yield.
In short, we are moving towards precision farming and that’s great because the population is expected to be somewhere around 8.6 billion in 2030. We need all the food we can get.
Already, most of these things are in practice. Drones are being used for better surveillance and monitoring and livestock monitoring has started happening through GPS and location tracking. Smart greenhouses are also a thing.
We say city planning, because in the future we really are looking at smart cities. As in, full on smart living going on all over the place. Specifically the things that will change are:
Traffic management– with the help of satellites and quick data processing, traffic can be managed much more efficiently. Remember that the most important feature of AI is the problem solving it offers. So congestion and traffic jams can be avoided. It will also become a lot easier to find parking spots.
Energy management– wastage can be reduced with resources being employed only where they are needed. Also, smart grids are already becoming a popular concept and rightly so because they not only are efficient but provide economic advantages as well.
Pollution Control– through smart devices garbage that is lying around or trash cans that need emptying can be taken care of. Air pollution levels can also be measured more effectively and quickly.
Security- Can you imagine how scary it would be to constantly be watched and for everything to be automated? Yeah, that should help keep trespassers out. This one is a little up for debate though because then there’s the issue of privacy, but it seems like an ‘either or’ situation. Again, a topic for another day.
With the everyday made easy humans are looking at a lot of saved time to dwell on existential dread, but also to focus on intellectual and creative ventures.
As with agriculture, some of these practices such as use of IoT in security and smart grids are already in practice in places. We need to see if these experiments prove fruitful and if the benefits outweigh the risks and whether or not if it will ever become a worldwide phenomenon?
For now, we move on to the next important sector…
This is a very promising field that is also, somehow, the most overlooked. In healthcare the possibilities for IoT are really almost endless. We’ve listed down some for you
Availability of medical history- with such sophisticated options available for data collection and storage (cloud networks), it is only a matter of time before all medical records are taken care of this way. This will be extremely useful in case of emergencies or when travelling etc.
Monitoring- for heart patients and diabetics, timely identification of a symptom can do wonders. With smart monitors this can be done. Insulin pens are also beginning to surface. These keep track of the time and amount of insulin injected and can then measure when the next dose should be and how much will be needed.
Smart Inhalers- these inhalers keep track of allergen in the air and can also give forecasts depending on the weather conditions. More than anything else they give people with asthma more control over their illness and more chances to avoid an attack by telling them about the causes and also suggesting the appropriate medicine.
Smart ambulance networks- with IoT ambulances will be able to hear about an emergency without having to wait for a human to make the call. With accessible medical records and better monitoring a lot can be done before the patient even reaches the hospital.
IoT in healthcare basically means saving more lives. With machines doing all the monitoring and calculations, there is very little room for human error.
It will be very unlikely that the wrong injection gets administered or there is a mistake in the calculation of a dose that results in harm done to the patient.
These are only a few of the areas where there’s room for IoT to change the game. In reality, there are many more- basically all spheres of life.
IoT can be used in schools for better coordination between teachers and parents. Some schools are even experimenting with all course work online and no regular classes. This might just be the future of public schooling. Even if we want to preserve the current school environment, the efficiency of the system can certainly be improved.
In shopping centers and other recreational areas ticketing and bill paying can all be automated. In fact, our self checkout counters and bar codes and online bill payment are all steps in that direction.
This shift towards more automated daily life activities is an inevitable one.
Ever since humans became aware of their own cognition, we have been trying to find better and more efficient ways of getting things done. This is the natural next step in that course of action.
The future of IoT seems quite promising, almost exciting. While it is true that privacy has become an issue now, there’s more safety and accountability too. It mostly depends on the way you choose to look at it.