The Internet of Things – Our Digital Lives in 2017
Our digital lives are ever more connected. Whether it’s audio, web or video communications, they all intersect.
This crossover is known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). The term is credited to telecoms executive Peter T. Lewis who coined it in a speech in 1985 when he said: “The Internet of Things is the integration of people, processes and technology with connectable devices.”
The IoT enables us to connect our devices in new and exciting ways. Here we look at what the IoT is and explore what we can expect from it in 2017.
What qualifies as an IoT technology?
The most important technology is the internet, as this is where everything connects. In short, any technology that involves the linking of different devices is an IoT technology.
Whether that’s one computer to another via the world wide web or a smartphone to a wearable fitness band via Bluetooth, it’s the same concept. As a result, almost any technology that links devices can be called an IoT technology.
So, you would be right in thinking the IoT is nothing new. And it’s true, the IoT has been around since the internet took off all those years ago. But this is the year the Internet of Things is expected to come into its own.
As industry commentator Jason DeMers said in Forbes in January 2017: “With products like Google Home and Amazon Echo emerging and gaining popularity, it’s reasonable to suspect that 2017 is the year that IoT finally starts taking off.
How will IoT technologies impact our lives?
The IoT is about multiple devices working together in new and exciting ways. Whether that’s a smartphone connecting to a FitBit or an Amazon Echo playing your favourite music on the command of your voice.
Areas where the IoT exists and is likely to expand include:
- Wearable Tech: Fitness monitors, calorie counters and food monitors digitise our exercise and diet regimes. Expect the data provided to become ever more accurate and refined.
- Automation: Whether that’s home automation remotely controlling your heating, windows or blinds, or even driving your car, it’s likely that many new kinds of devices will become automated.
- Environmental Efficiency: As devices controlling heating in homes and offices become ever more sophisticated, entire buildings may become an interconnected web of devices. The use of software to harmonise operations is likely to be an emerging aspect of IoT technology
But there are powerful aspects of the IoT that go beyond useful and time-saving devices. Among these are the challenges for businesses of the Internet of Things.
Security and the Internet of Things
With increased connectivity comes increased need for security. As John Moor, Managing Director of the IoT Security Foundation says in Establishing Principles for Internet of Things Security: “A growing number of new-to-security practitioners are just starting to realise the scale of threat that adding connectivity to their product brings.”
The Internet of Things will force us to adopt new security measures as online barriers between people, devices and services blur.
Customer service and the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things opens up data opportunities for customer service, as well as challenges.
More connectivity equals more data. The analysis of such data can help companies refine their products and provide more targeted advertising.
It can also raise issues for customer services. As Michael Ringman CIO of TELUS, wrote for the website Smart Customer Service: “[Customer support] agents will need to tap into a greater knowledge base that can help solve any and all combinations of issues, while also delivering support via the channel preferred by the customer.”
The new technologies the Internet of Things brings to our lives, and how businesses adapt to them, will be one of the most interesting features of 2017.
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