The world is going Digital and Technology is more personal than ever. I feel there has been 3 revolutions that has changed the global outlook:-
• Industrial Revolution (1760-1840)
• Internet Revolution (1980-2000)
• Industrial Internet (Today)
It all started from the Galileo time where for the first time an instrument was used in between a human and the object to study it. This was in itself a paradigm shift. Then came the Industrial revolution where mass production and automation was born. Then came the computers and network which connected the whole world together. The invention of Computers is being equated to something similar to invention of Fire.
Talking about Internet, around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today. In 1995, it was less than 1%. The number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. There are approximately 6.5 Billion mobile phones in the world and out of which1.5 Billion are smart phones.
There is an increased number of networked appliances like television, mobile phones, sensor systems like HVAC, medical instruments, automobiles etc. The internet has evolved so much that the IPV6 is being rolled out due to the IPV4 exhaustion. The first billion was reached in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014. Soon more and more devices are going to be connected. This has given birth to a new idea called Internet of Things (IOT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Different names are being associated with this concept: “Industrial Internet” (General Electric), “Internet of Everything” (Cisco), “Web of Connected Objects” (France), “Industrie 4.0″ (Germany), “Internet of Things and Services” (Bosch)
With the reduction in the cost of the sensors and the storage space, there has been a significant development in the way various industries are leveraging the high speed internet capability.
Let me take 3 industries where IOT is used:-
1. Airline industry: Airline industry is being constantly criticized for the flight delays. Due to which the industry incurs billions of losses. A system called Preventive Maintenance System (PMS) is being implemented which has sensors in the aircraft which sends real time data of various parameters like engine efficiency, wear and tear elements etc to the ground staff and hence before the flight lands the maintenance team is already ready to serve the flight with the known problems. This saves lot of time and hence no more delays.
2. Medical Industry: Glucose monitor, heart rate monitor, using google glass many operations are being conducted with live feeds being monitored around the globe which increases the surgery efficiency. Saves time and lives!
3. Power & Energy Sector: The weather forecast feeds can help to redirect the direction of the blades of wind turbine and hence attain maximum speed and provide efficient power output. The driverless cars would efficiently increase the way driving is managed and also help reduce accidents by communication between vehicles on the road. The development of smart cities will also help connect a wider audience in many ways like monitoring and reporting status of city services like traffic flow, power and water usage, its availability and outage. Imagine the amount of access to city information which could enable new businesses. There is of course a security issue in this!
But with all these innovations and technological advancements there will be threats that mankind has to be aware of and deal with.
Some of the potential future threats posed by the IoT interconnected devices I foresee include:
• Automobiles – in-car( imagine google driver-less car) Wi-Fi, remote access, tampering of engine control and braking systems
• Commercial and Personal Drones – collection of significant personal data by drones; or compromised or personal micro-drones drones used for ‘kamikaze’ attacks
• Medical devices – unauthorized access to configuration settings as well as data on location, blood pressure/sugar levels, temperature
• Buildings and critical infrastructure – malicious damage to power production/generation or distribution, manufacturing, transportation
• Home appliances – Denial-of-service attacks using unsecured connected devices, such as home entertainment systems; unauthorized connections via compromised smartphone apps. (recent “refrigerator hack” confirms my claim)
There could be a situation soon when the connected world and connected devices will lead to over powering of humans by machines.
I was privileged enough to meet the Father of Internet – Vint Cerf, in Mumbai on 3rd Jan 2015. I asked him a question on what happens to humanity when there is Technological Singularity? This is related to Artificial Intelligence. His views were of using technological innovation for the betterment of mankind and there is always a precaution that needs to be in place.
I agree with him and if a simple google glass can help me increase my productivity and efficiency then why not? Something to ponder about!