When people think of the Internet of Things (IoT), the tendency is to envisage a world of devices designed to make human daily life easier, particularly in the home. The image is one of appliances that restock themselves, thermostats with inbuilt machine learning, smart food and other equally imaginative applications.
Now that the initial excitement has passed, though, the dust has started to settle and the real-world applications of the IoT are beginning to take shape. The home will be affected, yes - which Matthew Reaney explores in this issue - but the uses for connected devices will find perhaps their most notable influence in the world of industry and business. We explore how the former has far surpassed the consumer market in terms of actual application of the technology, and George Hill explains its rise.
The world’s biggest cities, too, will be significantly affected by the immense potential of the IoT. Automation in ‘smart’ cities will certainly make the lives of city dwellers easier, but there is a danger that the extent of the automation could render its beneficiaries stupid. James Ovenden looks at the dangers of a city run by ‘smart’ machines.
Though for these machines to truly be considered ‘smart’, they will have to utilize some kind of machine learning. If the ultimate goal of big data is that technology will eventually teach itself, the considerable investment being shovelled into machine learning is set to drive it in the right direction, and David Barton discusses how companies should prepare themselves for its eventual ubiquity and how best to exploit its value.
Also in this issue, Laura Denham explores how appealing design will be the key to the IoT taking hold on the consumer market, Emma Taylor explains the benefits of ensuring your supply is ready for the IoT revolution, and Alice Atkinson-Bonasio looks at the immediate future of the technology. It is important to limit hype when it comes to new tech, and it’ll take a while for the home to be revolutionized. But, with real-world applications becoming ever-clearer, expect to become a lot more familiar with the IoT in the coming years.
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