“There is a massive, massive collection of things that are going to be connected to the Internet," Mark Mondello, CEO of Jabil recently said during an interview with IndustryWeek. “We’re in the third inning of a nine-inning game. There are lots of good opportunities for us both within electronics and outside of electronics.”
How the rest of that metaphorical baseball game will play out is still anyone’s guess. No matter the trends, adaptable technology and manufacturing processes will be essential. Here are five speculations on what the future of the Internet of Things may look like.
Baidu is testing a pair of chopsticks (kuaisou) with sensors that connect to a smartphone or desktop app to display contaminants in the food. LED lights on kuaisou make a simple and immediate measurement, determining if food is safe to eat or water safe to drink. This utensil could open the door for further applications for food safety at a time when food demand is expected to increase 70 percent by 2050.
Today, cars can email their owners notifying them of upcoming maintenance and mechanical issues. Internet of Things connected devices may have the ability to conduct self-diagnostics and request their own repairs. Machines will also be able to update themselves with necessary software/firmware upon release from the manufacturer decreasing compatibility issues.
Alicia Asin, the CEO of sensor-making company Libelium, has recently reported that 18 percent of the company’s approximate $4 million in sales came from the agriculture industry. Sensors monitoring for optimal growing conditions have been implemented from wine vineyards, to dairies and even by eel farms. With better monitoring, farmers are able to reduce the application of fertilizers and fungicides while still improving productivity.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission are currently debating what standards Internet of Things technologies will need to adhere to. In response to growing security concerns Samsung, Google and ARM have recently formed Thread, an IP-based wireless networking protocol that they hope will offer Internet of Things devices security and connectivity essential for long-term success.
The technologies surrounding the Internet of Things may lead to a change in the industry workforce. There will be exciting opportunities to pioneer and new positions in support of existing roles. Author Kevin Kelly sums it up: “This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots.”
What areas do you see the Internet of Things expanding into in the future?