Why Companies and Customers Are Still Skeptical of IoT?

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – Henry Ford.

In about exactly 13 years (target as set by NASA) or rather 7 years (as set by Elon Musk’s Space-X) from now, we humans are going to set foot on Mars and become truly space faring race.

We live in pretty exciting times riding on a threshold of Continuous Imagination empowering Continuous Innovation. Every product in every domain is undergoing sea change, adding new features, releasing them faster than their competitors, adapting to incremental rate of technological substitution. But most of these new feature improvements, new product launches are not guided by new requirements from customers. In face of stiff competition that gets stiffer by the day, evolution and adaptation is the only natural process of survival and winning. As Charles Darwin would put it “Survival of the Fittest”.

But as history suggests, there are and there always will be skeptics among us who will doubt every action that deviates from convention – like doubt climate change, doubt the need to explore the unexplored, and the need to change.

The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism” – George Jean Nathan.

A human mind exposed to scientific education exhibits skepticism and pragmatism over dogmatism and largely remains technology agonistic. It validates everything agnostically with knowledge and reasoning before accepting new ideas. But human progress always came from philosophical insights, imaginations that led to discovery or invention of new things. Technological progress has only turned science fiction (read philosophy) into scientific facts.

The future is already here – it is just not evenly distributed yet” – William Gibson.

With the above premises in mind, in this article we intend to explore the realm of IOT, its implications on our lives and our own limitation in foreseeing the imminent future as Companies and Customers.

We understand Internet, but what is IOT (Internet of Things)?

IoT, the Internet of Things or Objects denote the entire network of Internet-connected devices – vehicles, home & office appliances, and machinery equipment embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and the wired/Wi-Fi and RFID network connectivity which enable these objects to connect and exchange data. The benefits of this new ubiquitous connectivity will be reaped by everyone and we will for the first time be able to hear and feel the heartbeat of the Earth.

Source: The Economist, 2010.

For example, as cows, pigs, water pipes, people, and even shoes, trees, and animals become connected to IoT, farmers will have greater control over diseases affecting milk and meat production through availability of real time data  and analytics.  It is estimated on an average each connected cow will generate around 200 MB of data every month.

According to Cisco, back in 2003, penetration of internet and connected devices per person were really low but grew at exponential rate doubling after every 5.32 years similar to the properties of Moore’s Law. Between 2008 and 2009, with advent of Smartphone these figures rocketed and it was predicted that 50 billion connected devices shall be in use by year 2020. Thus, IOT was born and is in the adolescent phase already.

Source: Cisco IBSG, April 2011

Today, IoT is well under way, as initiatives such as Cisco’s Planetary Skin, smart grid, and intelligent vehicles, HP’s central nervous system for the earth (CeNSE), and smart dust, have the potential to add millions—even billions—of sensors to the Internet 1.

But just like as in during social media explosion the new age of IOT, connected devices, connected machines, connected cars, connected patients, connected consumers and connected network of Things we will need new age collaboration tools, new software, new database technologies and infrastructure to accommodate, store and analyze huge amounts of data that will be generated like host of emerging technologies like graph database, bigdata, microservices and so on.

IOT – Internet of Things will also require IOE – Integration of Everything for meaningful interaction between devices and provides huge opportunity for middleware/integration technology providers like Kovair.

But as Kai Wähner of TIBCO discusses in his presentation “Microservices: Death of the Enterprise Service Bus” 2 that microservices and API-led connectivity are ideally matched to meet integration challenges in the foreseeable future. Mulesoft’s “Anypoint Platform for APIs” backed by Cisco, Bosch’s “IOT platform” or the upcoming API management suite from Kovair is a pointer to all this and shall empower the IOT revolution.

The explosion of connected devices each requiring specific IP addresses have already exhausted in 2010 under IPv4 and requires IPv6 implementation immediately that will also suffice inter-planetary communication for a much longer period. Governments and World Wide Web Consortium have remained laggards and skeptical with IPv6 implementation and allowed the exhaustion of IP addresses.

But not just governments, bureaucratic and large technology driven organizations like Amazon, Google and Facebook can remain skeptic under disguise and continue to block movements like Net Neutrality/ ZeroNet, Blockchain technology, IPFS (Inter Planetary File Sharing protocol) over cumbersome HTTP as they fear their monopolies will be challenged 3.

Conclusion

We humans engaged in different capacities as company executives or consumers, government officials or technology evangelist have role reversals as that of sceptics or futurists and will continue to doubt IOT although embracing it until we actually truly benefit from it.

Exactly after remaining Skeptical for 120 years of the pioneering work done in Kolkata by the Indian Physicist Prof J.C. Bose during colonial rule, IEEE finally recognized and conferred on him the designation of the “Father of Telecommunication”. The mm wavelength frequency that he invented used in his experiment in 1895 in Kolkata is the foundation of 5G (Wi-Fi Mobile network) that scientists and technologists across the world are now trying to reinvent that will provide the backbone for IOT 4.

Finally, we leave it to the reader’s imagination about the not so distant future when all the connected device in IOT begins to pass “Turing Test”.

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Technical Content Writer