Vision of the Internet of Things
We all know where we are heading. There are smart devices all around us; there are smart phones, smart cars, and machines talking to us, guiding us all around. Now, with advent of the internet and connecting daily things of our lives over telecom networks, I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that in a few years, everything in your home, office, cars, etc., will be connected. Can you imagine a Siri-like voice telling you at 7pm, “It is time for your dinner. I recommend mixed vegetable soup, because you have already consumed too much sugar and carbs since breakfast”?
It sounds a little scary give us an interesting sci-fi feeling that every non-living thing in our life will start talking to us and will know more about us than we know about ourselves. I often wonder, how will the world change? Would we stop physically meeting and socializing with people? Would it be an interaction with just machines, which could potentially gauge our emotions far better than we imagine (futuristic concept, of course)? In spite of all these questions, it wouldn’t be wrong to say how impressive it would be to have everything in your life connected to one another and hence assist in provide amazing end-use experiences that were never imagined before!
Current State of IoT
There are numerous market leaders in the technology sector who are already foreseeing these changes and working in their “labs” to execute these envisioned ideas and produce some tangible results.
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Imagine a system where everyone always has a wearable on their body which capture some metabolic changes, temperature, and other physical metrics which could indicate that the person MAY get sick or might be having suicidal thoughts as examples. This trigger would initiate the communication with required parties, who can take the correct steps to ensure nothing risky happens.
I am not shooting in dark – there has been a lot of research that indicates the growing inclination of industries to want to dig deeper into their customer base and find such information which they could never collect before and use that data in ways that were unimaginable before. APIs bring devices and “things” to life.
Some online articles present interesting numbers around the data and results of IoT. One research survey says that about 40 billion devices will be connected to each other and share data among themselves, which means the volume of data could scale to “zettabytes,” “yottabytes,” and “geobbytes.” An interesting fact is that Boeing aircraft jet engines can generate about 20 terabytes of data per hour, which over days to months and years is a humongous amount of data . Another Annual Global Cloud Index survey result from Cisco indicates that the Internet of Things could generate almost about 400 ZB (Zettabytes) per year by 2018, up from 113.4ZB a year in 2013.
Benefits of IoT
Obviously, there are several benefits that have been realized from adopting API-led connectivity in different areas of our lives, hence so much attention being paid to it:
- Sensor-driven analytics – When your home appliances, automobiles, or offices start sensing data, they can start generating enough connectivity to enable predictive modelling, something fairly new and an area of great interest for many companies to engage with their clients. Imagine it the not-so-different future when there will be businesses who provide “analytics as a service” simply based on these results of sensory data.
- Advanced analytics in supply chain areas – Based on geographical distribution of product buying/usage patterns across different demographics, the results can be used to better plan supply chains and help companies reduce overhead and better serve customers. ERP and supply chain management (SCM) have gone hand-in-hand for quite some time, but the IoT revolution will allow us to enhance those solutions by intelligently connecting people, processes, data, and things via devices and sensors. 
- Connected computing – We all as end users want our systems to remember our usage patterns, browsing practices, and preferences to keep track of what we are doing, reading, listening, our likes and dislikes as we transition from one decision and action to another through our daily lives. The personalization achieved through connected computing make our digital experiences more tailored to what we want to see.
- http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/how-the-internet-of-things-impacts-supply-chains/ (This interesting article was written by Uday Shankar, VP and head of the IoT practice at Xchanging.)