Over the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure (and I use this word loosely) of building a house. Through all the ups and downs, the thing that struck me most is the volume of technology now required inside a home. Everything is electronic and digital – from my heating system and smoke detectors (controlled by internet-connected devices made by Nest) to my lighting and garage doors (fully controlled by my iPhone); it’s really amazing! We’re beginning to live within the ‘Internet of Things’, a network of physical objects, devices and people with the ability to automatically transfer data without the need for human intervention.
A number of developments have made this possible. The explosion of smartphones has accelerated the evolution of low-cost computing power that is highly power-efficient and physically smaller than ever. This low-cost mobile computing power has, in turn, enabled the development of ‘apps’ and the further development of ‘web apps’ though HTML5. It’s fun to step back and think about the extraordinary level of creativity and ingenuity that has come to life through the creation of apps for iPhone and Android devices.
The last critical component of the Internet of Things is global, high-speed, wireless data connectivity. Our collective advancement in the wireless space over the last decade is a game-changer. Our current LTE network can offer up to 50Mb/s, and, with the next generation of LTE-advanced on the horizon, we will double that speed. Soon enough, wifi networks will cover whole cities, making access to the Internet easier than ever.
All of the components required for the Internet of Things have come to fruition and are in place. But why is this important?
Until now, for the most part technology has been about doing what we already do in a faster, cheaper, and hopefully better, way. The Internet of Things is all about new ways of doing things that enrich our lives and our communities and address the biggest challenges we face collectively, in ways we never thought possible. I’m excited to be in an industry that’s bringing this dream to life. I’m even more excited to be part of a company that is committed to tackling society-wide issues like the future of healthcare delivery and privacy.
But first, I need to finish my house. I’m happy to report that so far, the Internet of Things has solved my issue of having to remember to check the batteries in my smoke detectors. Progress indeed.