IoT: Once Upon a Time in Future
The present of IoT will complement its future. Near-future IoT and AI will connect machines and humans to the point where every machine will be voice automated and understand their owner's patterns.
Here is the abrupt start to this article: the brain is a weird place, makes you believe in things you don’t want to. We’ll get back to why I said this soon. We’ve been talking about IoT a lot in general now. What it is. How it has evolved. How it works. What we can do with it and all. Now we talk about where IoT can take us or where we can take IoT, what the future holds for us. But the baseline is that the possibilities are limitless.
Let the past be our guide
Digital transformations are always a complicated journey. One has to navigate through a lot of complicated twists and turns to reach the pinnacle of innovation with one particular emergent technology. Sit on the time machine and let's take a ride. It’s the year 2002. You can not even imagine that one day you will have access to all you have now just at the click of a button. Be it ride hailing services or quick food delivery. 20 years back all of this seemed highly improbable. Today's tech has completely revamped lives and IoT has played a huge part in it.
The cute thing about ground breaking technologies is that before they disrupt the ecosystem, very few people understand that they can and they will. Let’s take a look at Amazon. When Amazon finally conducted its IPO it was taken as a joke.
This happened with Machine Learning too. It came in with a boom and almost reached the point where it received the same treatment as Web3 is receiving now. Take a project, add a little sprinkle of ML on top and you’re good to go. 1000s of startups got kickstarter funding solely on the base of fancy buzzwords like “AI Enabled” or “Machine Learning”. With so much hype and not as much impact on the ecosystem, the hype eventually died down, also taking away the stature ML truly deserved.
But good things never really go away and similar is the case with ML. It is not only well and truly back but also embedded in the tech ecosystem with pretty strong actual use cases. I mean look at it this way. If it was not for ML assisting me right now, you would not be reading this article so soon. Starting from predictive keyboard to Grammarly suggestions, ML has worked its magic at every step. And it's not only this. You look at something and see its entire structure standing on ML. DALL·E 2 is a new AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language. Replit’s Ghostwriter and GitHub Copilot is an AI pair programmer that helps you write code faster by auto completing it.
You must be thinking why I am speaking the language of ML while I should be talking about IoT and its future. Easy, I was just setting up the stage to talk about it. You can only connect the dots looking backwards, said Steve Jobs. IoT has been hanging around us for a while and is at the point where we need to and have realized that just like other ground breaking technologies, IoT is here to make a mark and blow up. It's not only about smart homes or smart devices anymore. There is so much more to it.
Let the future be connected
We will reach the pinnacle of the IoT journey when we can gain critical insights through platforms that allow us to manage outcomes for continuous intelligence. We need to feedback the data that we are recording from our devices, back to our devices. How you may ask? Let me tell you. Read the first line of this article when I said the brain makes you believe in weird things. That’s going to happen now.
Smart homes will be even smarter, they will be self aware. Imagine your fridge re-ordering supplies for you when it senses that they have run out. Or your thermostat self adjusting itself to the optimal temperature you need. Your devices ordering food for you in accordance with pre-fed data so that you do not have to go through the decision anxiety of scrolling through hundreds of restaurants. Your self-driving car goes to the service station to get itself repaired when it senses a fault.
Coming out of self aware homes we can take everything up a notch. Imagine super smart industries and cities. Automated industries where robots do all the work for you. Dark stores where when you place an order, it directly goes to the server, gets processed, packaged and then delivered to your home through drones. Inventory and shipping systems which give real time location updates throughout the journey.
Now put your 2050 goggles on and imagine the cities of the future. I am sure you have a picture in your mind of what it looks like. I am just going to tell you the details of how things work there.
Enlaced with IoT, Your city of the future has a real time monitoring system for anything and everything, giving you practical and imperative insights to revolutionize the working and functionality of all domains. Add sensors everywhere. It can be citywide healthcare supply monitoring which includes storage and condition monitoring logs. Building stress surveillance to continuously gauge whether the building is safe enough in earthquake conditions or otherwise. Transport infrastructure monitoring which involves motion, acoustic, and other sensors for continuous track monitoring. AQI index tracers which send automated control signals to enable more preventive measures in the respective area. Smart traffic control helps monitor and avoid any sort of blockages.
You might think that all of it is still happening now. Yes it is, but not exactly in the way it could. I mentioned earlier that “we need to feedback some of the data that we are recording from our devices, back to our devices”. That is what we are not doing, properly. We do that and we’ll gain complete visibility and control over the health of all the infrastructure the city has.
Let IoT breed with other techs
With these basic use cases covered, I’d like to diversify the possibilities and state that proper IoT innovation and use can be experienced by its convergence with other technologies.
IoT and Blockchain
Take blockchain for example. All of these use cases I mentioned earlier. Where do you think we are going to store that data? Blockchain is the answer to that question. Ledgers will keep your data safe, secure, and away from any corruption. IoT and Blockchain will help form continuous monitoring logs for everything. While the former allows businesses to track the status and condition of the cargo, the latter creates a secure and fast framework for a digital contract. An interesting example of this is the Bill of Lading (BoL) which offers an immutable audit trail. Let us take the example of some medical equipment, that is extremely shock and temperature sensitive, being shipped. If the sensors record a shock or temperature change beyond the BOL-defined limit, the contract can be nullified.
IoT and AI
Then comes IoT's integration with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. These technologies will play the pivotal role in gaining critical insights. With bundles of historic data in hand, AI can help us do predictive maintenance and control. Also I know you have envisioned yourself talking to machines in the future. Near-future IoT and AI will connect machines and humans to the point where every machine will be voice automated and perform commands accordingly. (Jarvis entered the chat).
With all of these use cases and futuristic possibilities we discuss, come a lot of voices we need to filter out. The voices which say that IoT and other cutting edge technologies will make the man lazy. Well I think that now every man deserves a machine best friend. One look at all the technological advancements over the years and we can see that they have made us pro-active by giving us a chance to focus on the right things. Uber helps avoid any sort of transportation issues. Food delivery apps give you a quick fix, if your day is super cramped. Smart healthcare has eased out medical care. Similarly, the future of IoT will also add immense value to our lives helping us focus on core areas. Once this digital revolution occurs, we will have the capacity to deploy, automate, orchestrate, and secure diverse use cases at hyperscale.
If you are looking to do an IoT project, this article would help you think about it the right way.