Are we ready for a “smart” world?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors and enables increased machine-to-machine communication. This “next big thing” is making things “smart” by being mobile, virtual, and allowing for instantaneous connection. But what is the real benefit of IoT? If a machine is a tool, and instrument that physically does something, what is the further advantage of making it “smart?” It isn’t the capability for machine-to-machine communication. No. Rather, it is the data that is gathered and available due to its the sensors and could connectivity.

Technically a sensor is not a machine as it doesn’t perform the action is the way a machine does. Rather, sensors measure, evaluate and store data. Thus, the real benefit of IoT is not the potential for machine-to-machine communication, but rather the connection of sensors to machine to gather data, and then leverage it. How does one analyze an abundance of data? Through the inherent cloud-based applications that interpret and transmit the data coming from the sensors. In short, sensor-to-machine provides data that allow for then machine-to-machine communication, which can then turn the communicated information into action.

The potential for these sensors is unlimited. For example, these sensors can be preventative in accidents. “When we rebuild bridges, we can use smart cement: cement equipped with sensors to monitor stresses, cracks, and warpages. This is cement that alerts us to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe. And these technologies aren’t limited to the bridge’s structure. If there’s ice on the bridge, the same sensors in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information via the wireless Internet to your car. Once your car knows there’s a hazard ahead, it will instruct the driver to slow down, and if the driver doesn’t, then the car will slow down for him.”

With all this connectivity, the advantages are immense. The potential for economic savings, industry growth, and targeted marking regard the IoT as one of the biggest technology trends of the future. Yet, with all the advantages, IoT is often met with hesitation by consumers’ unwillingness to share data without perceived value. Fear of invasion of privacy and security issues, with hacks and breaches, plague the technology trend. Do you think consumers’ hesitation of a connected world could hinder the growth of IoT? Are we ready for seamless connectivity? Could these concerns be addressed with more transparency?



4 thoughts on “Are we ready for a “smart” world?

  1. Great post! I think that with any new technology, some consumers will always be hesitant at first. But if they learn that the positives of a new technology outweigh the benefits, and have the potential to make their lives easier, safer, or more enjoyable, eventually their concerns will be alleviated.


  2. LaVella, The statistics you shared about consumer attitudes towards data collected through smart devices are thought provoking. Even though the majority have concerns, some types of connected devices seem to be thriving. I’ll be curious to see if the latest confirmed reports of wide spread fitness tracker security breaches have any impact on fitness tracker devices and application sales or usage.
    Enjoyed your post!


    1. Lara, thanks for mentioning fitness trackers! The worldwide market for the Internet of Things is expected to surpass $7 trillion by 2020, with the number of devices in the tens of billions. Do you think that consumers could also be hesitant to utilize fitness trackers because of the data gathered? Could it potential increase consumers health insurance costs?


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