Self-driving cars, app-controlled thermostats and fridges that order food are some real examples of ‘The Internet of Things- a world of interconnected devices beyond computers and smartphones that could change the way we live dramatically. In a recent article, Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, looked at what to expect of the Internet’s next big frontier…. [...]

Self-driving cars, app-controlled thermostats and fridges that order food are some real examples of ‘The Internet of Things- a world of interconnected devices beyond computers and smartphones that could change the way we live dramatically. In a recent article, Olaf Swantee, CEO at EE, looked at what to expect of the Internet’s next big frontier….


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In a blog posted on LinkedIn, Swantee listed three key technological developments: IPv6, 4G and cloud technologies, that have enabled us to expand the internet from being something accessed via a screen to being something that exists as a connection between machines of all shapes and sizes.
Swantee cites the Economist's three big trends accelerating the growth of the Internet of Things:
1. IPv6: The new internet protocol, launched in 2012 to replace IPv4, provides some 3.4×1038 (340 billion billion billion billion) unique addresses, essential to support the billions of networked objects in the Internet of Things.
2. Bandwidth: The global move to 4G wireless networks is creating the necessary bandwidth for objects to communicate with the servers that analyse the data they create.
3. Cloud: The emergence of cheap and on-demand cloud-based storage services makes the cost of storing the masses of data from the internet of things viable today and this is only likely to increase as the cost of storage continues to fall.
Swantee used four real-world examples to demonstrate how the concept is already working now:
• In the Netherlands a company fitted cows with wireless sensors that send a message to the farmer when one is sick or pregnant.
• The Nike+ Fuelband is a rubber wristband that tracks your daily activity, collects and analyses the data and acts as a personal trainer, nutritionist and health advisor.
• After the Fukushima nuclear power station disaster in Japan a group of volunteersproduced blueprints for self-assembly Geiger counters, including a sensor that could be attached to an iPhone, for people to collect data about the levels of leaking radiation and get a true picture of what was happening on the ground.
• An Oktoberfest visitor designed a beer tankard with a tilt sensor that measures how much you drank throughout the German beer festival.
He said: “While I’m pleased to say that I don’t expect to see a Blade Runner-style future of man versus machine, I do think that the way connectivity and technology will advance over the coming years will enable us to become more efficient, more effective and will allow us to spend more time focusing on the important things in life – our friends, families, work and leisure time.”
The blog is part of LinkedIn’s new ‘thought leaders’ feature, highlighting the accounts and opinions of leading industry figures.
At the end of his article, Swantee says: “The fact that we’re all still waiting for our personal jet packs is a testament to how hard it can be to predict future technology trends. In a world where the touchscreen smartphone, modern social networks and true mobile data connectivity are not even a decade old, it is always hard to predict exactly what’s around the corner.
"The emergence of a completely new and game-changing technology, company or product is something that could massively change the landscape in a way we simply cannot forsee. One thing’s for sure, the future will be full of excitement, and 2013 heralds a critical year in its formation.”
Read the full blog post here