BEEP BEEP BEEP. The sound of our alarm going off in the morning is something we all dread.. But what if that alert from your alarm signalled your heater to turn itself on or notified your coffee machine to start brewing. Dragging yourself out of bed at 6am would be made much easier.
The Internet of Things is a phrase often associated with the development of embedded and wearable devices. Although there is no doubt that wearable technology is creating revolutionary changes to the world we live in, your apple watch does not begin to describe the scope of IoT.
The Internet of Things describes the increasing availability of the internet, where the number of network devices continues to grow – soon every device we own will have its own wifi connection. It’s an expanding network of everyone, everything, everywhere.
The big question is how will the Internet of Things affect us in the future?
Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie (2014) predict in their report The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025; the ability of our devices to communicate on our behalf—our devices will be interacting with the physical and virtual worlds more than they do so with us. Simply put, IoT will make our lives easier.
Our cars will notify our ovens to turn on when we are on our way home from work, our phones will inform our TV’s to mute when the we get a call and our fridges will be alerted when our grocery stock is low and automatically reorder… and advances such as these will be only the beginning. Yes, the internet of things will change our lives on an individual level, but lets look at the bigger picture.
Machine communication, cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors have the ability to change the world. The Internet of Things has the ability to create a new kind of smart device.. smart cities. Cities all of the world are being faced with the problem of doing more with less. Mark van Rijmenam (2014) in his blog Smart Cities Turn Big Data Into Insight- Infographic points out major issues cities across the world are being confronted with; overpopulation, ageing infrastructure, reduced budgets as well as energy and water usage, congestion and expansion.
Through Big Data technologies IoT has the ability to create smart cities to increase efficiency of city services and urban living.From our transportation network, energy and water systems to street lights and our roads IoT will be enhancing the quality and performance of all our urban services. South Korea’s city of Songdo often referred to as ‘The City of the Future’ or ‘Korea’s High-Tech Utopia’ provides us with a glimpse of what smart cities may be able to do in the future. Songo is a city filled with communicating devices from automated waste collection plants, to telepresence systems – the city focuses on design and eco-friendly practices, it is quite literally a connected city.
Anderson and Rainie (2014) discuss that the biggest change we will see from IoT is a movement away from a single ‘do-everything’ device to multiple devices with overlapping functions and interrelationships – our physical world will literally become one big information system, and your alarm clock alerting your coffeemaker to start brewing is only just the beginning.
- What do you think the next step for your city is to move towards becoming a ‘smarter’ city?