IoT starting to gather momentum at the same time as Artificial Intelligence
A recent report from Mckinsey suggests that the Internet of Things (IoT) could be worth $11 trillion within 10 years. That’s $trillion not $billion. Mckinsey also estimate there will be up to 30 billion (30,000,000,000,000) devices connected to the Internet by 2025 as we continue increasingly to digitise our physical world, everything from fridges that tell you you’re out of milk to critical innovation in industry. This is industrial evolution and revolution on a massive scale.
What is IoT? People are starting to understand what the Internet of Things is . But not really what’s it’s for. One thing is for sure, it’s the next big game changer for industry.
No longer science fiction – it’s real and it’s happening. The leading tech companies are fighting for their share …Apple, Cisco, IBM, Intel, Google and Microsoft to name a few.
There are lots of explanations out there but let me try and simply distill this down to the basics.
It’s about connecting everything to everything at a base, physical level, then capturing and using the data real time to improve experience, performance and service.
IoT is the collective name giving to the growing number of physical devices that can log on to the internet to enhance their functionality, provide data and enable remote control. The advent of smartphones and apps suddenly make accessing these multiple and remote devices both immediate and useful for us. Think smart homes and smart cities.
Now you can glance at your smartphone to check the security cameras at your home, or perhaps boil your iKettle, (you can already buy it on Amazon) – a kettle that you can boil from your smartphone – wherever you are in the world.
Potentially it’s so big, so enormous, that it needs a vision – to take it in byte (sorry!!) sized chunks let’s have a look at some more detailed cases where it’s already being used.
Fitbit for Cows. An IoT device recently launched does health monitoring, in real time, for cows – a bit like Fitbit and the Apple Watch do for humans. Essentially allowing a farmer to monitor the health of individual cows, allowing pre-emptive action in the case of problem – thus helping to avoid premature death. This promotes a significant improvement in the productivity of the herd with the obvious financial benefits. See our post here.
Connecting your toothbrush to the Internet would allow the transmission of your individual brushing patterns (without giving away your personal details – as meta data) to a dental database where your brushing pattern can then be compared to the ideal pattern for the shape of your teeth and jaw. Sharing this information improves your dental health, saves money and as a nation we get healthier teeth. A successful Kickstarter project has already produced the first IoT toothbrush from start-up Kolibree.
The major returns on investment will come from industrial device connection initially. The opportunity is vast – especially around maintenance and device optimisation using big data. Core to industrial IoT is the ability to predict device failure. Pre-emptive maintenance based on “batch” data on average failure rate costs companies billions of dollars every year. IoT devices that warn of imminent but specific failure will massively reduce such costs in a highly disruptive manner, saving business huge amounts of money and creating major shareholder value. This is where the potential of the Internet of things gets really exciting.
What are the blockers? Firstly, security has been a concern – potentially this is hackers’ heaven – gazillions of devices connected to the Internet and then connected to you provide gazillions of access points for an attack or even a Denial of Service attack where access points are overwhelmed with data. The solution is supercomputer (potentially Quantum computers) level encryption combined with Artificial Intelligence providing super strong encryption that morphs according the style of attack.
Secondly, leadership. The IoT currently is like iron fillings on a sheet of paper – no pattern, no direction. Remember as a child running physics experiments where you placed a magnet under the paper and affected a pattern and direction? That’s why the industry needs a leader.
Following today’s announcement from IBM that Harriet Green will lead its IoT drive, amongst other things, the industry may just have secured the leadership required. Ms Green has the presence, vision and character, as well as industry knowledge and a truly global approach to now move the industry from nice theory to installed reality at speed. Somebody has to take leadership of IoT and it may well be IBM now.
Disclaimer: Author worked with Ms Green for 7 years