Recently I was asked: Where do you see the Internet of Things in 10 years?
It is an interesting question to ponder. To frame it properly, it helps to think back to what the world was like 10 years ago and how far we have come since then.
Ten years ago, in 2007 Apple launched the iPhone. This was the first real smartphone, and it changed completely how we interact with information.
And if you think back to that first iPhone—with its 2.5G connectivity, lack of front-facing camera, and 3.5-inch diagonal 163ppi screen—and compare it to today’s iPhones, that is the level of change we are talking about in 10 years.
In 2027 the term Internet of Things will be redundant. Just as we no longer say Internet-connected smartphone or interactive website because the connectedness and interactivity are now a given, in 10 years all the things will be connected and the term Internet of Things will be superfluous.
While the term may become meaningless, however, that is only because the technologies will be pervasive—and that will change everything.
With significant progress in low-cost connectivity, sensors, cloud-based services, and analytics, in 10 years we will see the following trends and developments:
- Connected agriculture will move to vertical and in-vitro food production. This will enable higher yields from crops, lower inputs required to produce them, including a significantly reduced land footprint, and the return of unused farmland to increase biodiversity and carbon sequestration in forests
- Connected transportation will enable tremendous efficiencies and safety improvements as we transition to predictive maintenance of transportation fleets, vehicles become autonomous and vehicle-to-vehicle communication protocols become the norm, and insurance premiums start to favor autonomous driving modes (Tesla cars have 40% fewer crashes when in autopilot mode, according to the NHTSA)
- Connected healthcare will move from reactive to predictive, with sensors alerting patients and providers of irregularities before significant incidents occur, and the ability to schedule and 3D-print “spare parts”
- Connected manufacturing will transition to manufacturing as a service, with distributed manufacturing (3D printing) enabling mass customization, with batch sizes of one very much the norm
- Connected energy, with the sources of demand able to “listen” to supply signals from generators, will move to a system in which demand more closely matches supply (with cheaper storage, low carbon generation, and end-to-end connectivity). This will stabilise the the grid and eliminate the fluctuations introduced by increasing the percentage of variable generators (such as solar and wind) in the system, thereby reducing electricity generation’s carbon footprint
- Human-computer interfaces will migrate from today’s text- and touch-based systems toward augmented and mixed reality (AR and MR) systems, with voice- and gesture-enabled UIs
- Finally, we will see the rise of vast business networks. These networks will act like automated B2B marketplaces, facilitating information-sharing among partners, empowering workers with greater contextual knowledge, and augmenting business processes with enhanced information
IoT advancements will also improve and enhance many other areas of our lives and businesses—logistics with complete tracking and traceability all the way through the supply chain is another example of many.
We are only starting our IoT journey. The dramatic advances we’ve seen since the introduction of the smartphone—such as Apple’s open-sourced ResearchKit being used to monitor the health of pregnant women—foretell innovations and advancements that we can only start to imagine. The increasing pace of innovation, falling component prices, and powerful networking capabilities reinforce this bright future, even if we no longer use the term Internet of Things.
For a shorter-term view of the IoT, see 20 Technology Predictions To Keep Your Eye On In 2017.
Photo: Garry Knight on Flickr
Originally posted on my TomRaftery.com blog
Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine