IOT Trends: What Are Today's Developments?

IOT, or the Internet of Things, has a long development history. In short, the culture trend of connecting physical real-world objects with the Internet, or software world, has been an idea for over 80 years. As Forbes has pointed out, the popular 1940s character, Dick Tracey, had a two-way radio wrist watch. IBM’s reign in the mid-20th century brought a lot of patents to the space. And Carnegie Mellon students connected computers to the coke machines, to read how many drinks were cold and available in the 1980s. It wasn’t until Kevin Ashton of MIT’s Auto-ID Center, presented to his P&G executives in 1999 with a slide titled, “The Internet of Things,” did the actual phrase catch on. 

So, what’s enticing about connecting the physical world and the digital world? IOT allows us to gather unlimited amounts of data to analyze and optimize our worlds. We can potentially use the Internet to solve a lot of everyday challenges. If every item in your home and office innately turned on and off according to individual needs, that could save energy, time, and worry. With IOT, we can streamline, enhance, or optimize almost every fragment of every industry. 

 

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Trends in the last few years have come in a few forms. Nest and Alexa are the best examples of popularized consumer IOT. Nest knows how warm or cool to keep your home, how to lock your doors, and if there is threatening smoke in your space. Alexa, though seemingly the family’s rudimentary friendly ‘bot, is absorbing data 24/7. Scaling up to B-to-B IOT, smart devices are used on military-grade drones, shipping logistics, and medical practices. In fact, every industry from real estate to food production has begun to incorporate IOT. 

Today’s trends incorporate Big Data, AI, BioTech, FemTech, and cryptocurrency more and more. As a consumer, the direct changes will be seen (and physically felt) first through Smart Home Devices, Retail Experiences, and AI. 

Smart Home Devices often provide added security, or savings on heat and electricity. For example, Smart Light Bulbs from name brands such as Philips, allow you to control your lights wirelessly and remotely. Wink’s window and door sensors tell you via app when doors and windows are opened and closed. This IOT is perfect to know when kids get home, or security overnight. In-home Smart Fans can be set to accommodate and your standards automatically. The Haiku, which uses SenseMe software app. and sensors for temperature, humidity, and movement, adjusts to your comfort setting. These products and many more provide IOT solutions that ultimately administer security, or savings on heat and electricity.

 

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You’re going to see more and more IOT in retail too. SmartShelf, headquartered in CA, combines machine learning, and the digital experience with the physical retail space. They take over the shelf-edge display and use sensors to recognize the in-front customer data, then react accordingly. Whether it’s playing optimal advertising, gathering demographic feedback to the company, or noting inventory levels, SmartShelf gathers useful data and ultimately showcases the most suitable information for each shopper. Another IOT we see in retail is e-textiles. Companies such as Loomia are developing fabrics that are soft-to-the-touch, but can also sense and track heat and light data. In fact, their technology can be placed in your materials of choice. This empowers designers and users to study, learn, and optimize their fashion. Imagine if your shirt changed colors and warmth depending on your surroundings and directed settings? This is the retail IOT we are encompassing today.

 

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Last but not least, we’re witnessing Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things merge. You’ll witness more and more AI solutions in your everyday experiences. A great example of this is with transportation. Cars can now sense what is around them and drive for you. Manufacturers like Audi, Volvo, Toyota, and Tesla have incorporated AI. The cars will parallel park for you, provide backup incase of an oncoming collision, and even drive across the country for you. Studies show that autonomous driving can calm road rage. Time Magazine even reported that AI technology integrated into cars can, “transform our experience behind the wheel: not by driving the car for us, but by taking better care of us as we drive.” And IOT involvement into our everyday transportation doesn’t stop there. Have you received a running-the-red-light ticket recently? City governments are implementing cameras with sensors to ticket the violators. Soon they’ll have sensors in streets, noting which roads need improvements first. IOT will also be implemented in street lights and signs - adjusting the experience according to what is needed in real-time, rather than steadfast control. 

The implementation of IOT is truly limitless. The more we connect the digital with the physical and vice versa, the more our world will be developed, enhanced, and reformed to make each industry and experience as optimal as possible.