Users control the Internet of Things (IoT). Okay, it’s really their devices–over 50 billion of them by 2020 connecting and streaming up and down the cloud in zettabytes. To put that into perspective, you can watch everything Netflix has to offer–it’s entire catalog–3,177 times. That equals one exabyte. It takes 1000 exabytes to equal one zettabyte. That is roughly 250 billion DVDs. If you are like most people, the speed of one zettabyte still leaves your senses in the clouds. We’re approaching fast data moving at the speed of light. That’s how fast the IoT is shaking “things” up and putting you, the user, at the heart of data’s future.
What exactly are those things?
They are smart. Smart devices. Smart things. Things that respond to voice commands. Things that digitally talk to each other. Things that 95 percent of businesses want to be part of because they know you already are, according to Cisco Systems IoT. They are all the thingsthat network life: manufacturing, transportation, security, mobile devices, hospitals, schools, homes–they all can be connected to the IoTand that means big business, big returns on investments.
So where are those things?
You have them in your businesses, your houses, on your person. Every time you stream music, stream videos, share pictures, convert your online shopping cart into those shoes that you need overnighted, peruse social media, set your home security, set your furnace to adjust itself or engage in a dance-off with your dog riding your Roomba, you add to the IoT‘s gestell (a fancy German word for framework). The IoT needs you for its architecture, its connectedness.
Many computer gurus consider the IoT a dreamland of digital proportions since the kinks are still being worked out of the cloud and its foggy edge. But futurists know that the things are where the users are. So as people invest in more and more digital things, those things will migrate into an end user’s paradise where there’s little lag and a lot of utility. It’s a trifecta of people, things and relationships.
So how do I relate to those things?
Admittedly, it’s a bit tough to understand the impact the IoT can have on everyday life. Relationships are more than mere synergy of humans, devices and fast data streams. Redefining relationships in a digital world brings us to questions regarding how much we want to beconnected, our personal space, our sense of privacy and security, and our feelings of being in control.
Already, smart cars can tell themselves to slow down because there’s an accident a mile ahead. A hospital in London can pull your medical history from your doctor in New York if you’ve been in an accident and can’t speak for yourself. Robots can cut an incision with untold of accuracy. Perhaps soon your smart phone will initialize itself and call the office because your GPS arrival time has changed. That kind of relationship–user to user, business to things, things to things, that may not take that much getting used to. Smart devices may just become symbiotic in a digital body, connecting one system to another.
The Future of Things
The IoT is more than a cloud of fast data operating its way out of a fog. It’s life in the fast lane, the era of wondering about if we are consuming more bytes than we can chew. Is this fast forward to the things that will connect mankind to the data point of no return? What is that point? The Internet of Things–connecting billions of devices–shaking things up, rising to challenges that maybe May’s IoT World Forum can put into perspective, taking the future of things and making them happenstance and commonplace.
And you thought it was all about getting caught in the Web.