The Connected Life – The Hindu Business Line : Mobile Edition
Deep Internet integration is estimated to be a $4.5 trillion opportunity by 2020, with 24 billion connected devices globally
The innovation in communication technology has become an unstoppable force that is set to re-define, re-orient and re-align the ways in which we talk, interact, engage and live our life. The pace, at which technology has been breaking its limits, possesses the capability to twist, turn and disrupt any sort of status quo that sets into the domain. We have been witnessing astounding and unprecedented consumption of technology over the past two decades and this has become a sub-conscious proclivity for all of us now. The world as we know today is quite ahead from what it was yesterday and will be quite behind what it will be tomorrow. Right now, we are standing on the cusp of another quantum leap which will be the next revolutionary phase of evolution in technology. Something, which the experts call as the Internet of Things (IoT).
IOT – The next step
By definition, this phrase explains the phenomenal development that the Internet has been undergoing, thereby, becoming more powerful, sophisticated and ingrained in the fabric of communication. We all know how the ordinary internet connects people over fixed or mobile, telecoms networks including satellite, GSM and WiFi. The next phase of tech-evolution is the internet of things that connects devices to one another via machine-to-machine “modules” which have sensor and communications electronics installations that allow data to be sent and received. A recent global study of 750 CIOs on machine to machine (M2M) by SAP and Harris Interactivehas termed IoT as the ultimate social media collaboration of man and machine. M2M is primarily collecting vast amount of machine data from network-connected embedded microprocessors and IoT is the efficient processing of all these data to derive useful and intricate information. IoT has the capability of integrating data from machines, ERP, CRM systems, social media et cetera in real-time which can be used for intelligent interaction between human and devices, devices with devices and devices back to humans. A recent report published by Deloitte in collaboration with CII and the MIT School of Telecom Management, Pune, estimates this to be a $4.5 trillion opportunity by 2020, with 24 billion connected devices globally.
IoT has been around for about a decade but until recently it was too complex and costly. However, over the past couple of years the infrastructure and installation cost of M2M communication network has declined significantly which has resulted in burgeoning R&D investments from major technology evangelists across the globe. The M2M modules have sensors that can detect things such as temperature, pressure or movement and perform multiple functions, from monitoring throttle notch settings on freight trains for fuel efficiency, to slowing or stopping a train if there is an obstruction on the line. These modules are tiny and can be in a house, car or even a person. According to Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors,by 2020, 50bn modules will be connected to the internet in the developed world. Within five years, most homes will have 200 devices linked to the internet from lightbulbs to washing machines, NXP says.
In medicine, swallowable modules can check internal health in hard-to-reach areas such as the lower intestine. Medical implants and wearable devices can also monitor blood pressure, administer drugs and connect patients to remote advice providers. The EU has called for all vehicles to have such modules fitted by 2015. They can request maintenance automatically, warn when components are in danger of failure and dial emergency services in the event of a serious accident, giving the vehicle’s location.
They can communicate the position of a commercial vehicle to central fleet management systems and calculate optimal routes and speeds, helping reduce wear and fuel consumption. Drivers who speed can also be encouraged to behave in a safer, more fuel-efficient way that helps reduce insurance premiums. In vending machines, the technology can handle secure, cashless payment and checks inventory levels and machine functionality.
While M2M can be used by almost all industries, some of the early adaptors have been auto, healthcare and appliances that go into making a smart home. There are devices that patients can wear as a necklace or belt which tracks heart rates and transmits the data to their doctor’s smartphone. Similar applications can be hugely beneficial especially in rural areas where access to a trained doctor is not always possible. Within the automobile sector, M2M applications are already fairly popular, such as the theft control feature. Soon, the way you drive could actually determine your insurance premium by linking it to the number of times you brake rashly.
Multi-tasking and multi-utility are probably the most significant reasons for using the term “Internet of things,” as the Internet is more than a resilient network but a conduit for any combination and collection of online activities. In many ways, the Internet has become a digital world that has gateways into our physical world.
(The writer is Managing Director, Blackberry India)
Warm Regards / Ganesh Srinivasan
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