Technology is changing so fast we find ourselves awestruck at times. With ‘IoT,’ Drones, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Bio-Printing, Robotics, Smart Cities, and other concepts gaining ground, it is hard to choose which subjects deserve priority. Through these forums, it is my intention to give a simplistic analysis of the changing scenario. My first post in this series covers ‘Connectivity’ by way of “IoT.” The rest will follow suit in a succession.
There is a dividing line between its Industrial applications and the Consumer usability. Industrial ‘IoT’ is the front-runner due to its emergence as ‘Machine-to-machine’ learning experience. Machines and/or devices communicate with each other and with outside applications to exchange information we know as ‘Data.’
Consumer ‘IoT’ may still be a few years away before hitting the mainstream but prior preparation will allow us to reap the greatest benefit as it becomes available to the masses.
Every ‘expert’ has a different definition of this technology. General prediction dictates anything and everything electronic or electric with ‘On’ or ‘Off’ ability must connect to the Internet for better performance and controls.
Various agencies and professionals have come up with diverse interpretations of ‘Internet of Things’ or “I o T” as we continue to understand the same. While a handful of experts called this technology a “system”, others likened it to a medium. Few enlightened individuals claim it as an ingenious tool for growth while the rest of them included distinct capabilities of connected devices in gathering them together as “I o T”.
In the midst of confusion, connectivity remains the sole common reason. We can expect decreased human intervention in many fields. Automation will receive precedence over routine jobs in both consumer and business ecosystems.
Machinery on the shop floor shall become more productive with the help of embedded sensors reporting possible failure before it takes place. It will conserve time, streamline quality control procedures and save precious resources.
First Industrial Revolution came as Steam Energy in the early 19th century. Electricity brought us the 2nd Revolution with an enormous rise in production. Assembly Lines became a buzzword on the shop floors boosting production within the much smaller timeframe.
Third Industrial Revolution of the early 1970s saw Electronics and Information Technology gaining ground. Computers became a prerequisite for continuation in fewer than 10 years. Miniaturization brought this innovation to the general household in ways nobody dared imagine.
The four-block long computers of the early electronics era have now put computing power in the palm of our hands. Microchips embedded in our Smart Phones are a thousand times quicker than the massive ENIAC computers. These chips offer tremendous capabilities and much greater storage space.
Imagine how the popular opinion if someone predicted present-day automation initiatives in those times. Probability, they would proclaim him/her a maniac in distrust but it happened. This shift continues to gain further ground as modern computer chips and microprocessors can do thousands more complicated calculations so much quicker.
We have taken great strides over the last 3 decades. It is just incredible. Education and higher learning have ceased to be the domains of the rich and the resourceful. The connected computers and advanced electronic gizmos, including tablet computers and smartphones, helped bridge differences between far-off relatives and acquaintances. These devices, when put together, create the backbone of Social Media by building connections without borders.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution brought on by ‘Internet of Things’ or “IoT” offers tremendous prospects of advanced automation in every conceivable field. Constant data generated on either side can help find potential trouble spots and set alarms. This technology backed by embedded sensors is a tremendous blessing in disguise. It offers a huge opportunity to cut both avoidable losses and recurring maintenance cost at the same time.
A sequence of smart devices can run the entire unit without interruption. Prominent among these are Augmented Reality (AR), Blue-tooth, Smart Phones, OHMD (Optical Head Mounted Display) and PCs/Tablet Computers.
Engineering challenges have become seamless thanks to Open Network Platforms. Monitoring, analysis, and automation have merged. The information so gathered converts into digital packets. It comprises the smooth convergence of four of the most influential causes: social, mobile, big data and the ‘Cloud’.
Advanced societies and industries are together investing billions of dollars in compliance and growth and not just production. They recognize the size of adaptability as the fundamental stimulant for success. These two work together.
In the above scheme, ‘Internet of Things’ has a pivotal role to play. We need to recognize and adopt it with open arms and ecstatic emotions. Our failure to do so will cause avoidable losses and suffering. The automation, the transformation, the technology and the necessity are here to stay and grow. We may choose to ignore the same at our own peril.
Before Social Media emerged as an open platform, marketing gurus had no notion they might show their commodities for pennies on the dollar to huge target markets across countries. Social Media made it achievable, thanks to the Internet.
Personal Emergency Response Systems e.g. Life Alert in the U.S.A. help save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Imagine how many other devices do similar work in other countries.
The above illustration amplifies that information is necessary for survival whether it involves man or machine. Delays mean catastrophe. This is where ‘Internet of Things’ or “I o T” provides a major boost.
Here is a brief example:
- Preventive maintenance of machinery and systems
- Logistics management, from Merchant Ships on the high seas to products on the store shelves
- Smart City initiatives that include efficient traffic management and other services
- Advances in Health and Medical field through Precision Medicine
- Increased efficiency for the public due to various timesaving opportunities
- Disaster Management leading to enhanced protection of human lives
- Global database to allow faster response to diseases, epidemics and/or pandemics
- Efficiency in Elderly Care with ‘IoT’ enabled prescription bottles that inform near and dear ones soon they miss a dose. These bottles can also order refills from the pharmacy
- New, better-paying career opportunities to replace the ones suffering a blow due to automation
- Enhanced security is within easy reach through connected light bulbs, available at Amazon and Target that show occupancy even if you are thousands of miles away from home. There exist a vast number of other possibilities in this field
The list goes on. It may not be possible to foresee every outcome at this stage. However, it shall be a safe bet to mention that ‘IoT’ is here to make a major impact on our lives. We may not imagine the near foreseeable developments unless we pay attention now!
What signal can be stronger than the advance prediction of an impending trouble? That is what ‘I o T’ has delivered to today’s fast growing commerce platform where other considerations become analogous.
We need food to survive. The grower feels compelled to keep up with the demand and produce large enough quantities to satisfy those reliant upon his competence. He needs to make sure quality and no harmful pests, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizer residue before releasing to market.
The moisture content in food grains is ideal for adequate storage life. Nourishment levels must be at their highest. In their quest to meet the above demands, farmers valued their individual knowledge built up over the years. Their personal focus and skills helped them control the produce. This allowed plenty of minuscule errors and/or oversight, as there were no standard gauges in place to guarantee consistency. Lack of similar standards and methods to make sure quality continues to cause avoidable losses to the unsuspecting farmers.
With the spread of the latest innovations across the field, taking care of these equations is a breeze. Every conceivable check undergoes scrutiny by digital Smart Sensors many times over, each day, every day and through every weather pattern. The sprinklers will not activate unless the moisture level has gone below preset levels. Same holds true for other treatments and that helps make sure the final produce is of the highest standards possible.
Advances made in medical field help specialists keep an eye on their patients’ health through a multitude of means. They can now offer customized treatment in place of the traditional, generic approach.
This is only the beginning. Forthcoming changes shall increase life expectancy beyond present-day levels. Healthy living beyond 100 years of age shall soon become the norm rather than an exception.
We must look into direct gains in higher education, engineering, manufacturing, agriculture, and medicine. A thorough study could easily cover a much larger number of industries but the fact remains the same: Do you believe in the power of ‘Internet of Things’ or not? If you do, then above examples should suffice for now. If not, no amount of research can help! It is time to explore this technology further and then embrace it without further delay.
Your resistance to embracing the change will make you a victim of your own negative feelings. You will fall behind in your career and/or business pursuits in the event you fail to foresee the winds of change!
I hope no harm comes to you as a late adapter but I also feel pressed to caution against neglect. Please give oncoming ‘Internet of Things’ revolution a long, hard look.
P.S. You will be better off seeking advice only from those aware of these developments!