Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Get Ready for the Era of the iOT

Prepare for the iOT

By Harish Bijoor

The Internet of Things is here then. An evolution of the productized version of what began as a service.

Last fortnight I took you through a journey of how it all began. Time now to cut to the present and the future.

In the beginning there was communication that was 1:1 between friends. And then in came telecom. Two machines at either end facilitated the conversation between two friends sitting in different geographies. In came email and this communication ceased to remain 1:1 even. And now, viola! In comes the iOT.

Out here in the era of the iOT, every thing around us is getting more and more intelligent. The era of the tracker is here. Fitbit is a motion tracker. You wear it round your wrist in a silicon bracelet and it tracks the numbers of steps you walk, how you sleep and how you don’t as well.  The basic technology of the motion tracker is here. This tracker sticks close to your body in an appendage, and tracks your every move. You can track yourself via GPRS if you wish.

Your life is personal no more. If you wish to broadcast the news of your body, the news of your activity, the news of your sleep-pattern to the world at large, you can as well. There are community sites where people post how they sleep. And guess what, people compete with one another in the virtual world to sleep better than the next guy around. People compete on steps as well. Did I walk more than you did today?

The Internet of things, in some ways begins at the lowest common denominator level of the motion tracker for a start. Imagine 10,000 people in Delhi competing with one another on the steps they take every day. Imagine a million people doing the same with one another all over India. Imagine a point of time when your doctor’s desktop or for that matter his mobile phone receives news of how sedentary you were today. Imagine your virtual trainer in cyber-space sending you a shove or a poke on your mobile phone, insulting your sedentary day. Imagine, imagine, imagine.

The power of the motion tracker alone is a very big power. The tracker tells you what you did. The tracker compares what you did as opposed to what others did. The tracker communicates to your doctor and virtual trainer as well. Tomorrow, expect your tracker talking to your Insurance company on a regular basis. And expect your insurance company offering you a rebate on your health insurance premium just because you took an average of 30,000 steps a day last year, as opposed to a national average of 5000.

The Internet of things is just about stirring. It is a revolution that is slated to wake up and shake us all up.  It is a device and tracker led revolution. This is a device and tracker and connectivity and communication led revolution.

The world today has 10 Billion devices. Of these 7 Billion are mobile phones. The other 3 billion are sundry other devices. As of today, the 7 Billion phones talk to one another when enabled by their human owners at both ends. When you make a call to Mrs. Kapoor, you are enabling the call. Mrs. Kapoor at the other end will decide whether to enable her mobile phone to receive the call, or terminate it.  To that extent, this connectivity is all about permission-oriented connectivity.

The era of the iOt is however one that is going to be one of intelligent connectivity, enabled just once. Once you have done that, at times by just accepting to have an intelligent chip in your device, communication is going to be a continuous, and at times a two-way process. You will possibly buy a refrigerator tomorrow, which has an intelligent chip in it. The intelligent refrigerator will talk directly to your web-enabled grocer.  When the Coke bottles are nearing empty status on your bottle-rack, your doorstep will have a replenishment delivery. You will never run dry of Coke then. Ever.

Take that one step further to the B2B application. Your grocer will have his intelligent-shelf chip talking to the local Coke distributor. The grocer will never ever run dry of stock. Take it further then. The Coke distributor has a chip that talks to the local bottler.  And the bottler has a chip that talks to possibly Atlanta direct. The possibilities are therefore endless.
Forget the mundane. Imagine possibilities. Predictive manufacturing is already a reality. The Mercedes Benz you bought yesterday in Hoshiarpur is possibly talking to the manufacturing plant direct. Its brake lining is speaking to Berlin. The moment it is wearing out, it is alerting the plant to produce and make it available in time at the local dealer in Hoshiarpur possibly. Think. Imagine. Fantasize even!

This is not science fiction. This is reality today.  The world is getting progressively penetrated by devices. And devices are getting intelligent. Intelligent devices are connected to one another.  The prognosis for 2020 is that there will be 46 Billion devices. Each intelligent and each talking to one another.

We are at the doorstep of this revolution. Even as it unfolds, there are serious security concerns that are being flagged. The security industry is working overtime to fight that one possible Trojan that might infect and take over. They seem to be winning the fight as of now.

In many ways, nothing is private and personal anymore. Privacy is dying if not dead, and no one seems to be complaining. Have you noticed how the young amidst us love to have their lives public on social media? Have you realized that the young love to flaunt more than the old in our midst do?

Privacy goes to the cleaners. On that note, it’s ok when your washing machine is talking to your grocer. Imagine a time when your washing machine is taking to Mrs. Khanna’s washing machine. The gossip starts then. The problem starts then! Touche!

Harish Bijoor is a brand-strategy specialist & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
twitter @harishbijoor| email:


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