Imagine this scenario... the year is 2027. You're asleep. Based on your breathing patterns your iPhone 17 has sensed that you're waking up and sends a message to your coffee maker and meat-growing machine. You walk downstairs to find a fresh brew and crispy bacon. After breakfast you step outside and hop into your self-driving car, which takes you a different route to work due to congestion in the city centre - information received from a network of traffic lights. While you're chilling in the back seat you get a notification warning you of impeding health dangers, so you pull up and decide to walk the rest of the way. Your car drives itself home.
Wouldn't it be great!
The world is built upon efficiency, information, and the quantification of big data. At present, the problem we face is that there's too much information and not enough experts to process it. It's like we're living in a giant hourglass, with only a small tube (the experts) to organise the contents and deliver some kind of measurable result. The Internet of Things is essentially a vast array of sensors, devices and machines working together to feed each other data on the fly - opening the hourglass tube right up. The result: rapidly increased scientific advancement, the ability to detect problems (such as accidents and natural disasters) before they occur, and increased efficiency in all walks of life.
The Sheer Scale is Hard to Comprehend
As humans we tend to think small. Therefore, when we talk about the Internet of Things, we usually categorize the benefits and negatives as per industry. For example, we might discuss how Tesla's connected network of cars (which send each other information in real time) can prevent accidents, but we don't look at the bigger picture and consider the impact this data could have on other, seemingly unrelated industries. Perhaps the sensors could also feed heat/weather reports to the cloud, which in turn could feed information to a sprinkler system informing it to "switch off" because rain is coming (saving water and reducing consumption). When you take a step back, it becomes clear that the Internet of Things will affect every industry imaginable.
Many large scale corporations are already prepping for this inevitable future - particularly those that wouldn't survive in a connected world - by implementing existing Internet of Things frameworks. For example, due to the shrinking of the satellite television market the Dish Network have recently partnered with Amazon, a move which will help them maintain a viable place in the market - Dish will allow customers to run their TV streaming apps through Amazon Fire, and in return Amazon Echo will integrate with Dish set-top-boxes. But Amazon could have a much bigger move planned... something that could not only revolutionize the Internet of Things, but prompt many other technology firms to create their own independent networks.
The Rise of Independent Internet Networks
By the end of the year there will be 8 billion objects connected to the Internet of Things, possibly even more. This is essentially too much for existing technology to support. As it stands Amazon have to use external Internet networks to operate; therefore, in order for their entire system to work they have to borrow bandwidth. If, however, Amazon had their own network they will essentially have their own in-house Internet of Things, along with the ability to seamlessly integrate all Amazon products with each other, and perhaps even lease to other companies.
While this is all speculation, lest not forget, Amazon have been at the forefront of the tech sector for many years, experimenting with new technologies that other retailers haven't had the guts to try: drone deliveries, cashless supermarkets. Many futurists predict that independent Internet networks could eventually become the norm for large scale companies. And let's face it, if any of them are going to take the plunge it will likely be Amazon as they already have the infrastructure for such a venture to be financially viable.
Granted, the whole idea of the Internet of Things sounds crazy, like a science fiction movie where AI has taken over the world. Hollywood storytelling has no doubt had a major impact on the way we think of technology, often causing widespread fear and anxiety. But while computer systems have their flaws, human error is a far bigger problem. The Internet of Things, therefore, shouldn't be rejected, but embraced - the bigger the better!
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