If you’re interested in IT industry, or at least if you carefully read newspapers everyday, you’ve probably heard of the word ‘IoT(Internet Of Things)’. This conceptual word ‘IoT’ is being mentioned in every media whenever they talk about the ‘future’ of human life beyond IT industry.
Okay, then, what is this IoT? Literally it means that Internet is on everything. It means that everything is connected each other and information is being shared among connected devices. Then, let’s define the ‘device’ which will be connected under the concept IoT. Speaking of consumer electronic goods, PC, smartphone and tablet are the basic IoT device. Wearable devices, such as smart watch and glasses, are also an important axis of IoT, furthermore big mechanical devices in manufacturing, logistics or other industries could be connected to internet via installed sensors. IoT won’t only affect consumer goods, but also will cover various devices used in diverse industries.
Then, what will benefit us if the world is connected? I think the intuitive example would be the Smart Home. You’ll probably be familiar with the scene that a man outside controls everything in the house just with a smartphone. It is not a imaginary scene anymore. Nowadays technology made ourselves possible to control home appliances, display, security systems, temperature and even lightings with just a single small smart device. Don’t you think it would make our lives more convenient than before when we had to manage everything physically and manually?
According to renowned research firm Gartner, the number of IoT device will grow to 26 billion in 2020 resulting in $1.9 trillion in global economic value-add. Still clueless how big this number is? The number of smartphone sold among the world were 1 billion in 2013.
Drastic M&A actions of global players are also a good evidence of the changing trends. Samsung has launched a smart watch device, Galaxy Gear, and Google announced ‘Android Wear’ several weeks ago which is an operating system customized for wearable devices. Another giant Apple reportedly will launch their first wearable device iWatch some time soon. Plus, the big deal between Facebook and Oculus was the biggest news in March in IT industry. Oculus, the tech company which spearheads the VR(virtual reality) head mount device technology, were sold to Facebook at 2 billion US dollar. Oculus’ headsets weren’t commercialized yet but Facebook foresaw the potentiality of the technology.
We have just started the first step of IoT and we can see numerous hurdles ahead of us. What would be the most important factor to actualize IoT if we think of the ‘connected’ world? I think ‘battery’ and ‘big data’ technologies will be the key factor to spread IoT devices to the world. Devices should be operated with the lowest level of power consumption. Battery itself should be durable, but the power consumption of wireless communication technology should also be enhanced along with the battery itself.
However, the concern on the privacy infringement keep rises as the technology develops. if the sensors and cameras connected to the network is mistakenly (or maliciously) used by unauthorized person or organization, the effect will be unmeasurable in negative way. Even now global behemoths or information agencies have transcendent power to monitor everyone’s day and night without difficulty. (and without personal agreement) We’ve witnessed this side effect out of the US surveilance issue leaked by the former NSA officer Edward Snowden. In more familiar example, the movie ‘Minority report’ starred by Tom Cruise is showing the negative use cases of the technology.
But despite several negative effects of IoT technology, it is certain that this will be our future which came closer than we’ve expected. IT giants are investing huge amount of budget on IoT in order to spearhead this inevitable trend to preoccupy the market and magnify the potential interest. I don’t want to say that every individuals should jump into IoT. But if we at least perceive the changing trend and prepare how to deal with the side effects, IoT will shed positive light on our future.
Knowledge is power. Professionals will try their best to spotlight beneficial features, but usually not the adverse side-effect. That’s why we should keep focus on the changing trend. You don’t need to analyze Techcrunch(popular digital IT news) everyday. But consistent observation on the new technology will help ourselves smoothly adapt to the new future.