The Internet of Things is slowly permeating every aspect of our lives. If you don’t already own an IoT device, you’ve surely heard of them.
From smart thermostats to smart coffee makers, IoT devices are slowly but surely garnering mainstream adoption. In addition, virtual assistants (such as Siri, Cortana, and Alexa) are only making this technology easier to adopt.
But, these devices are far from perfect. Currently, there is a lot of manual input required to achieve optimal functionalityâ€Š—â€Šthere is not a lot of intelligence built in. You must set your alarm, tell your coffee maker when to start brewing, and manually set schedules for your thermostat, all independently and precisely.
These machines rarely communicate with each other, and you are left playing the role of master orchestrator, a labor intensive job.
Your devices talk to you, not each other
This presents a huge opportunity. Creating devices that "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">learn your preferences, using machine intelligence and intercommunication in order to augment the world around you in the optimal way, is something of a fantasy… or is it?
A New Paradigm
Let’s consider the scenario of waking up in the morning (a recurring nightmare morning haters like me must go through every day). It’s not usually an enjoyable process. Let’s look at the way regular IoT and intelligent IoT can help change this:
Scenario 1â€Š—â€ŠIoT without intelligence:
Okay, not bad. However, small deviations from my precise routine can counteract the effectiveness of using automation. One snooze too many can leave me with cold coffee, and I could easily get lost in the notifications and lose track of time. The effectiveness of these devices depends on me, and that’s not always going to work out.
But, let’s see how intelligent, interconnected devices can make this system a lot better.
Scenario 2: IoT with intelligence:
Did you catch that? Some differences were subtle, and some were quite obvious.
For starters, no matter when I get up, my shower and coffee are ready without ever getting the chance to waste water or go cold. Smart curation of content keeps distractions like social media from letting me get late, and my car is nice and warm right when I need it, and not a moment before or after. Tasks that were previously sequential can now be parallelized.
This adds a level of robustness to a system that is resistant to human error.My mornings can no longer be spoiled by my own mistakes since the schedule is flexible. Intelligent devices that communicate with each other:
I think that’s pretty damn cool.
Best Case Scenario
Morning routines aren’t the only thing that get better. In fact, single person optimization is just the tip of the icebergâ€Š—â€Šgroup settings are next.
Imagine a restaurant with flexible lighting and music selection, optimized to suit the preferences of the customers, public transport that does the same, and city grids that optimize traffic flow by talking to self driving cars. The list goes on and on.
This technology will decrease time we spend in traffic, help us get better sleep, and ultimately help save lives, all without any manual effort. We are building a smarter, safer world.
This is the power of intelligent, interconnected machines. A world that is independent of human error.
However, nothing is perfect.
I’d be lying if I said there is only upside.
Cybersecurity is a fascinating and vast field of study, but it’s far from perfect. Anything connected to the internet is vulnerable to some degree. Here are three major things that could go wrong with a fully intelligent IoT world.
Yes, these reasons can seem quite scary. They’re problems that require careful planning and implementation. A fully connected world won’t appear overnight, and we will find and correct problems as they appear as we built this out.
Don’t be scared
Are there risks? Certainly. As with any new technology, we make a promise to accept both the potential benefits and risks that come with mainstream adoption.
I’m optimistic that the pros of an intelligent, interconnected world will far outweigh the cons. Sooner rather than later, we will likely see something of a fantasy world where not just our devices, but actual physical world around us is optimized to bring us a safer, more efficient experience. So, instead of spending time waiting for our showers to get warm and losing track on our phones in the morning, we can spend time pursuing what we truly find important.
Thanks for reading!
Footnote: Back in the late 2017 crypto craze, my favorite project was "); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);">IOTA. Simply put, their vision is that machines will eventually communicate with each other, and will need a universal “currency” to exchange in order to borrow resources from each other. I always thought it was a revolutionary concept, and encourage you to check it out. At the very least, you might get an inspiring picture of a smarter world that one day could be real.