IoT, or the Internet of Things, has the potential to be completely transformational in our day to day lives. The possibilities are indeed pretty much endless, with a global network of connected solutions enabling you to get/have whatever you want/need, whenever you need it – without you even lifting a finger.
We have all heard about connected vehicles, with the ability to predict both maintenance schedules, while sending data back to manufacturers (autonomous cars are in our minds – something a little different). We are also talking about connected healthcare, where something like your toilet can talk to your healthcare professional and diagnose future issues.
However, I think IoT is bigger than these individual issues, especially when we begin to bring in new technology such as Machine Learning, 5G and Edge Computing. A truly connected house, where all data is stored managed and analysed within your broom closet, allowing your television to make decisions on what you watch or listen to based on learned elements of your voice (such as tone or pitch to demonstrate emotion), which then orders your favourite takeaway through your smart speaker to cheer you up when you are down. Doesn’t that sound great? 5G and Edge Computing make this all possible through high powered, low latency networks, and a global edge ecosystem is coming.
But before we get all too excited, these days are a long way off. A lot of these technologies are still in their infancy, with very few use cases. From a computer hardware perspective (vendors such as Intel, Supermicro. Lenovo etc) we are now starting to see a move away from scale out (add more hardware) back to scale up (add more, faster silicon to your existing hardware) as power and cooling issues hit the data centre. This will be the same for the edge, and it will be interesting to the see how it copes with these requirements.
5G is also unproven, and there will have to be a big change in current mobile networks to make this happen any time soon. In fact, the telecoms companies are moving with the times, opening up narrow band transmission for free to enable more IoT devices to connect using their networks.
One the great things about IoT, is that it does allow us to think of truly innovative ideas, and the inherent simplicity of connecting devices makes it really easy to try new things and think about some ‘out there’ ideas about what could come next. The next really transformational idea could come from anywhere. So, what is next to be announced?