While me and my team is developing a marketplace for 'Internet of things', we have faced some common recurring questions every now and then, like:
Do you really think we need a smart watch?
Is IoT an utility or a luxury?
Do you think IoT is the next revolution?
As things become smart, don't people become dumb/lethargic?
and so on.
That's when it struck me, humans need problems to solve. If there is none, they create one. And then they make that problem common to all (called marketing) with a fancy tagline: Revolution ahead.....!
After all we love capitalism. Don't we? If so, lets work hard, and we can make this happen once again.
But to understand 'why IoT?', lets go back in time, and see where it all started.
From the very first revolution, the Industrial revolution(1760–1840), we have tried to automate processes just to save human labor and to create enough time for us. It was the transition to new manufacturing process from hand to machine production.
But it was just the beginning. Ever since, we have been automating anything and everything around us — Simple input, complex process behind the scene(automation) and a mind blowing output.
And then the Internet showed up and got popularized with the launch of windows 95 in 1995, and it was no more about just automating processes. It was about connecting people now, beginning a conversation among them, exchanging values and ideas with people who are distant apart, who could have never met each other physically.
We call it the ‘Internet of people’, where people can share their experience, teach lessons, communicate, discuss or even buy products in various communities and platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Amazon or any website. NASSCOM itself is a classic example of Internet of people.
Now similarly, ‘things’, if provided with senses(sensors) and internet, can also share their experience with each other. We call it the Internet of things. And it is happening exactly the way automation takes place — simple input through sensors(automatic), complex but a seamless process behind the scene and a very useful and powerful output, which is again saving time, moreover letting ‘things’ manage on their own, while you are doing things that are indispensable to you. And at the end, we, the people derive the most imperative indicators to attain better health, safety, comfort and convenience.
Living Smart isn’t just making surroundings smart, it is about you being more productive and having smarter people around.
BECAUSE You need not take care of things anymore, things will take care of you!
In the year 2000, researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada, and found the attention span of an average human being was 12 sec, which has even further come down to 8 sec, currently. Thanks to Smart phones. You know what the attention span of a gold fish is? It’s 9 sec.
In this information age, while we enjoy free and unlimited content, it has become even more important to let go of some of the things. Relevance is the key here.
Every content is relevant to somebody, not everybody.
Well we can ignore the unnecessary and be focused, but how can we ignore our surroundings, our belongings, our home, our family, while we are wired in, or caught up in another important conversation. Should I pay attention to the person next to me, or the one who just texted me? The distraction between the physical and the virtual world gets higher and higher each day with ever increasing content and context on the internet.
This is when our surroundings kick in and start communicating with each other, assisting & taking care of us and our daily problems like home & office administration, security, heath care, public safety, traffic etc, thus minimizing our distraction, letting us focus, and hence maximizing our output. Above all 'Internet of things' will help us bridge the gap between the 'real' and the 'virtual' world.
Remember when we were kids, we’d consciously learn how to walk, or how to speak. I bet we do not remember that. Take any skill for that matter, like hitting a ball or learning to balance your bicycle, skiing or surfing, and slowly how it all became a subconscious part of our lives. And then we take up another challenge, like driving which again slowly becomes a subconscious act. And we keep on taking up conscious challenges one after the other.
Evolution happens in a similar way — Conscious to subconscious, rise of new consciousness. In fact our genes already have all the information of our primitive versions right from the beginning of life.
Same way every revolution becomes a subconscious part of our lives, and we seek forward to take up new challenges to revolutionize things again, and again. ‘Internet of things’ is yet another revolution we are heading towards, after the Internet of people.
Trends may come and go, but revolution always give birth to another revolution.