The Internet of Things (IoT) is already everywhere. But where is it headed? This blog post, the first of a two-part series, will outline what the IoT could do in the future.
Internet-connected wearables have become very hot in recent years because of the popularity of FitBit and the introduction of the Apple iWatch and AndroidWear OS. Popular wearable technology features include body-monitoring sensors, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and steps taken. When combined with analytics provided by the cloud and mobile apps, wearables provide fitness enthusiasts almost unlimited opportunity to monitor their bodies and improve their performance.
What’s the future of wearables?
► Look for improved predictive analytics on the cloud front. Using data that combines the user’s medical history, location, and vital signs, the cloud could predict an imminent health threat and send an alert.
► Look for wearables that integrate with eyewear and interact with the user in an automated fashion.
Home automation systems are also on the forefront. Anuva Innovations has created the revolutionary TiO, an integrated home-automation system comprised of networked light switches, Nest thermostat, music streaming, window shades, and more. The Nest thermostat “learns” your schedule and adjusts the temperature automatically, even if you forget.
What’s the future of home automation?
► Look for systems that automatically identify maintenance issues in your home.
► Look for these systems to be integrated with your appliances. Also, look for more integration among appliances.
► Look for improved voice-activation systems.
Cities are becoming smarter. Companies such as Raleigh, NC-based Sensus are creating smart meters to improve the accuracy of utility measurements and to reduce costs. Veris Industries provides large-scale solutions for leak detection. Stop lights can be programmed to remotely to optimize traffic flow.
What’s the future of smart cities?
► Look for self-driving cars, buses, and trains to revolutionize public transportation.
► Look for analysis of sensor data to improve urban planning of cities.
► Look for predictive policing — policing based on real-time analysis of data received from the street.
Networked manufacturing equipment is ubiquitous. It is pretty much a given that an automated assembly line needs computer networking for process control and remote monitoring.
What’s the future of manufacturing?
► Look for more networked automation and a greater use of robotics to perform complex tasks previously relegated to humans only. Take a look a Kuka robot collaborating with a human to manufacture a device.
Logistics is replete with IoT. Inventory is tracked through networked barcode scanners. Fleetmatics, for instance, provides a fleet management system that tracks trucks remotely so that speed and idling time can be monitored. Amazon has automated many of its warehouses so that goods can be retrieved from shelves and packaged automatically.
What’s the future of logistics?
► Look for self-driving vehicles to reduce costs and increase speed of delivery. Autonomous drones will do the same.
► Look for automated warehousing systems to proliferate to smaller warehouses.
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