It blows the mind to think of how accurate Hanna-Barbera predicted the future when they first aired the Jetson's back in 1962.
No, we don't have flying cars yet, but for most of the futuristic gadgets and gizmos found in and around the Jetson's Skypad Apartment, you'd be hard pressed to find something that doesn't exist today in some form or fashion.
Welcome to the future folks... a future that has been coined - The Internet of Things!
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the subject of much hype and of vast projections from so many research firms these days like McKinsey Global Institute that stating back in May 2013 that the IoT has the potential to create an economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025... wow, staggering numbers even for George Jetson to comprehend.
At a very basic level, “IoT” means devices that can sense aspects of the real world – like temperature, lighting, the presence or absence of people or objects, etc. – and report that real-world data, or act on it. Instead of most data on the Internet being produced and consumed by people (text, audio, video), more and more information would be produced and consumed by machines, communicating between themselves to (hopefully) improve the quality of our lives.
We have all by now heard the classic smart refrigerator example: A fridge that can read RFID tags on grocery items as they’re put inside, then look up those tags via the Internet to identify milk, eggs, butter. The fridge tracks usage, then alerts owners when they’re running out of groceries, or need more food since people are coming over to watch the football game this weekend. The fridge could even place a grocery order automatically or warn about products nearing their expiration dates.
A bathroom that lets you know when it’s running low on toilet paper could be worth its weight in Bitcoin gold.
But beyond a well-meaning concept that promises to deliver us all to an even higher state of connectivity, what does the IoT mean for us in 2014? Why aren’t we all living the George Jetson lifestyle right now?
RFID tagging of items like groceries, etc… hasn’t trickled down to consumers yet. Even if items are tagged, there’s no simple way to look them up and without the ability to easily and accurately identify items, many smart appliances are becoming dumb. Smart fridges demonstrated this year at CES make users track food items by scanning receipts or barcodes with their phones. That makes keeping track of household items a fiddly chore – the kind of annoyance the IoT is supposed to eliminate.
Also, most smart home products are proprietary ecosystems. Good luck getting your Frigidaire refrigerator, ADT home security system and Sony home entertainment center to talk to each other anytime soon.
And lets not pretend that the IoT will not bring a multitude of privacy and security implications to consider. Just imagine, getting an endless stream of spam messages from your fridge as your making yourself a late night snack.
There’s little question the IoT will eventually be enormous. Using Internet technology to make our homes and devices smarter is easy to understand, but is also a very large endeavor that will take a lot more time.
More About the Internet of Things
If you're trying to figure out how to apply the Internet of Things in your organization, bring your imagination and get ready to be a little less confused as Butch Stearns and Scott Liewehr wade through the piles of IoT information on the CMS-Connected Show originally aired on Thursday, August 28th.