We all know by now that the IoT is a headline-grabbing concept in the business and technology worlds. But what in your own, personal world? How is the IoT most likely to change your life in the months ahead?
In the home
The concept of the smart home is perhaps one of the best-recognised consumer-facing applications of the IoT. Smart thermostats, security systems and energy management solutions are now the norm in homes up and down the country, accessed and controlled remotely via smartphone devices. Increasing links between consumer devices and media, entertainment, shopping and leisure organisations are likely to arise in the coming months. Imagine watching a cooking programme, integrating your TV with a smart fridge which orders the ingredients you need for your next recipe. Or listening to a particular band through your home entertainment system and being able to purchase tickets for their next concert near your home.
On the road
Driverless cars have been a long-discussed goal of the IoT and are certainly in development, though it is unlikely you will one parked on the drive in the next year. What is likely is that the IoT capabilities within new cars – enabling everything from parking assistance to geolocation and navigation, to entertainment and even shopping systems – will become more and more commonplace.
The retail industry can harness the IoT in multiple ways, from improving stock management by using IoT beacons to developing AR apps which enhance the browsing and shopping experience. As retailers fight to encourage consumers into their physical stores as opposed to doing all their shopping online, offering a truly intelligent experience, with everything from styling suggestions to ideas for cross-selling, will be critical.
In the gym
The health and fitness industry has embraced the IoT with open arms. There is a wealth of connected devices already available for purchase in this sector, such as wearable devices which measure heart rate or distance walked, and transmit it back to an online app for analysis of performance and progress.
In the future, we are likely to see next-generation devices which draw together greater volumes of data automatically, from body temperature to blood pressure, height and weight to sleep patterns, and therefore build a truly multi-layered and intelligent view of your health and fitness. This will still be used to track performance improvements in exercise, but will also be harnessed to deliver highly personalised health and wellness advice, such as the best time to go to sleep.
Related to the rise of health and wellness apps and devices is the role of the IoT in the healthcare industry. Here, the IoT has fantastic potential to deliver enhanced patient care and to drive cost and process efficiencies. Applications of the IoT in this sector range from individual patient devices such as connected pacemakers or insulin pumps which can automatically dispense medication, to large, standalone devices and machines in hospitals, where internet connectivity enables them to share information and inform medical decisions more quickly.
A paradigm shift
Fundamentally, the IoT is about connectivity. Previously disparate and standalone devices and systems are joined together. Information that previously went untapped is captured, and used to make tangible decisions. In the months and years ahead, you will notice your worlds becoming more and more interconnected, whether you are enjoying your leisure time at home or outside, going shopping, keeping fit and healthy or at work.
The Internet of Things is truly transformative – for individuals as well as businesses.