The Internet of Things continues to add new things daily to a growing list of already connected things; and these “things” have the opportunity to completely change our world. Capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power and energy independence have all been made possible as more people and new types of information are connected. And each day, society gains and learns from these innovations, all a part of the Internet of Everything – a network of networks where billions of connections create unprecedented opportunities as well as new risks.
When it comes to the actual physical devices that are moving the Internet of Everything forward, most think of traditional conduits such as laptops, phones and “wearables.” But, the connections that are creating the Internet of Everything come in forms many may not even consider, from toothbrushes, trashcans, power tools – even entire cities. And while all of these connections amaze with their technology, the value that they create is the real story, for what it means now and for the future of our society.
Much is at stake when discussing the value that the Internet of Things holds. At this year’s CES Conference, it was estimated that the Internet of Things would become a $19 trillion market over the next several years. The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population by the end of this year and by 2018, 96 percent of mobile data traffic will originate from these smart devices. The amount of these connections, coupled with reduced technology costs, has created possibilities for the future of the Internet of Things that are seemingly limitless:
- Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.
- A blue-tooth connected toothbrush that connects to a smartphone app is just one of the many devices on the market that promote a better quality of life through improved healthcare. Wearable technology like fitness trackers, health monitors, insulin pumps and even “smart” clothing can measure consumed calories, heart rates, the amount of medicine in a person’s body and transmit that data to patients and medical professionals in real-time. And 71% of Americans claim these types of devices have improved their overall health.
- The city of the future will be “smarter” as sensors turn street lights, waste receptacles and cameras into tools that will help municipalities operate on more efficient levels. Wim Elfrink outlined how Barcelona has used a network of sensors that transmit real-time data on temperature, noise and other conditions in one of the city’s most popular areas. Kansas City, Missouri has used the network of street lighting and interactive digital kiosks in conjunction with a $114 million streetcar project to promote the city to both residents, and companies potentially looking to relocate their operations.
Serving as a link to the Internet of Everything, all of the connected things that make up the fabric of the Internet of Things are leading to new economic opportunities, increased personalized connections and more importantly, positive intersections of technology and the human experience. Far beyond the monetary values that it can present to society, the Internet of Things is powerfully changing and improving quality of life for people across the globe, with billions of opportunities awaiting us all.
What impact has the Internet of Everything had on your life, professionally or personally? Thinking futuristically, in what ways can you dream of that use the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything to change our world?
We want to know what examples of the Internet of Everything you see in your own City of Tomorrow – your neighborhood! Join the conversation online by tagging your photo and video examples with #InternetofEverything and #CityofTomorrow. How is the Internet of Everything changing your city?
- Check out an Overview of the Internet of Things
- Read more about the Innovation Across the Internet of Things