IoT: To where is the Internet of Things headed ?
Over the past decade or so, Internet of Things (IoT) had been on a gradual slope of linear growth. But in recent years that slope has transmuted into a free fall. Everything is or is being connected to the internet, hence IoT! The IHS forecasts that the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices by 2020 before doubling again to 75.4 billion devices in 2025. Now that’s a lot of devices to be buzzing around among themselves. Such a large invasion is bound to alter the established order, swaying different industries into trajectories previously unimagined.
As an app company which has seen the virtual merge with reality over the years, in fact positively contributing to this paradigm shift, we’re in an ideal position to spot early trends in mobility of technology.
IoT in Healthcare
One such sector to benefit from this revolution is the healthcare industry touted to be a $117 Billion market by 2020. IoT is revolutionizing the way people, software(IoT apps) and devices interact in delivering healthcare solutions.
Wearables : The poster child of IoT, these smart devices such as smartwatches/clothes can track medically useful information like heart rate, breath rate, calorie intake, workout etc. This data when paired with relevant apps can give users comprehensive insights about their health and fitness. Tracking doesn’t stop at fitness, there are emotion sensing mood bracelets such as Zenta that track emotional well being and give insights using machine learning. It’s about taking stress over steps and zen over calories. And if that doesn’t do the trick there are Star trek eske devices such as Thync that can relax you or give you an energy boost depending upon the demand, using an eye patch that delivers waves to the brain acting upon specific nerves. Future Aspirin and coffee replacement maybe ? Watch out Starbucks !
Nanobots : Of all the health-care techs, nanobots hold the biggest promise. These microscopic robots can cure mortal diseases such as cancer in a matter of seconds. In lab trials nanobots have successfully obliterated cancer cells in 60 seconds ! These bots can be used to deliver medicines from inside the veins. Coupled with cloud storage and big data these devices can as well be used to continuously monitor health analytics.
Artificial Intelligence : AI algorithms are already being used to interpret patient medical records as well as to design suitable treatment plans. Now integrate AI’s analytical prowess with nanobots plethora of bio-information, what do we get ? Diseases that would be cured even before their inception. No crime,no judgement, case closed. Not to mention insights will be shared with healthcare experts using apps/software for further analysis.
Enterprises are going through a global digital transformation with IoT being at the center of it. Embracing the app culture is no more a luxury,it’s a necessity. Competitors are embracing Mobile Enterprise Resource Planning (also known as ERP) to make their processes more efficient, economic, scalable etc.
Inventory : Most businesses have already inculcated the use of trackers and remote scanners to keep a real time check on their inventories. These devices powered by mobile applications help businesses manage their inventories effortlessly. With deeper integration of AI and machine learning in the future, inventory management would be a completely automated process, all controlled by the software and AI.
Data : The crown jewel of IoT integration is the gargantuan amount of big data generated. With smart devices recording various patterns of consumer behavior such as their interaction with AI, the conversion rate,consumer decision processes etc, this information coupled with machine learning, design thinking, blockchain and data intelligence, will be continuously churning out insights previously inconceivable. The software can even make recommendations to the customer about what to buy or search. An in-house example of this is the Recommendation engine of the Affle Reusable Components library, which allows us to plug and play recommendation engine functionality in apps, ad units or web solutions developed by us.
Productivity and scaling : IoT integration over different levels of supply chain will completely change the way tasks are done. With workforce connected through the app/software, work will be done synergically allowing tasks to be done in minimal time with greater precision. There will be increased mobility and scaling since most of the work would be done over the apps. With advances in machine learning, time required for tasks will reduce exponentially.
Smart Homes : IoT at home
The concept of smart homes where the refrigerators texts the grocery store when you’re low on milk seems ala George Jetson-ish but it’s very much here. A lot is happening in the smart home segment. There are refrigerators that can tell you recipes to cook based on inventory in the fridge. Trash cans that sense what you discard and make online orders to buy replacements. Washers & dryers that text you when the cycle has ended. Nest thermostat that allows you to plan the temperature, controlling it remotely from anywhere using it’s native app. Locally there’s the Videocon set top box that allows you to control the tv and it’s built in app store remotely from phone using Bluetooth Low Energy(BLE). There’s also an Airtel version where instead of BLE, a barcode scanner and internet connection is used.
In all this high tech perfection there is still a major element that is cognizant by it’s absence, interoperability.This is where Ikea comes in. The Trådfri smart home lighting by Ikea can be controlled wirelessly using the touch of a button, same like Philip’s smart home lighting and other brands, but what sets them apart is that they support interoperability i.e they can be controlled from other mobile apps such as those of Videocon or Google. Not only this they support AI integration from all the major A.I’s willing to integrate. Now this is the vision of the smart home that the future holds. All the objects of the home interconnected and accessible from a single mobile app in perfect synergy.
Of all the technology trends happening, Internet of Things might well be the biggest. It’s the foundational building block of all that’s happening. What will AI alone do if it doesn’t have any devices to connect with ? In all honesty even your phone is worth trash if it doesn’t have internet. Just as behind every empire there’s an emperor, there’s IoT ruling this empire(technology). But there’s always that power behind the power. The king might be supreme, but he is controlled by his nobleman. So who powers this digital king ? It’s the applications ! For all the power IoT has, it is fuelled by the apps that support its integration. Even to read this article you would be using an app, be it Safari, Chrome or even Edge, doesn’t matter. The answer is there. Apps and softwares are the noblemen powering this IoT revolution.