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2016 – Intelligent Things of the Internet

2016 – Intelligent Things of the Internet
by Pranay Prakash on 12-30-2015 at 4:00 pm

 Change is happening fast with the Internet of Things (IoT). Devices are getting smarter. We all know that and have seen the evolution over the last several years – from smart thermostats to toasters. But smartness is a relative term and as we enter 2016 we will see more devices/machines that are becoming intelligent. And when you’re intelligent you do things better, faster and a lot of times without the help of anyone. That is what’s happening in the intelligent devices world. In some cases humans are controlling and talking to these devices and in others devices are talking to each other.

 On one of my international flights in 2015, I grabbed the chance to watch Ex Machina, a wonderfully done movie which attempts to close the gap between humans and machines. If you haven’t watched, recommend giving it a shot. The main non-human character in this movie called ‘Ava’ is a humanoid robot built with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – she is smart but also has emotions. Ava is possibly the closest a robot can get to humans from an emotional standpoint and yet do a lot more in terms of smartness and efficiency. If I were to make a grand and ambitious prediction, I would say we’re going to get to super intelligent machines like ‘Ava’ connected to blazing speed wireless internet fast but realistically, I don’t feel it is a #tech2016 phenomenon 🙂 However, I am certain we are headed in that direction and the following trends in 2016 will help in getting there:

 Wireless Connectivity
Everything is getting connected. We’re seeing technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth come default on many devices for home and even in commercial applications. Then there are ZigBee, Z-Wave protocols as well being used for connectivity in smart lighting etc. It is hard to say how protocol standardization will evolve but surely in 2016 device vendors will increasingly adopt some form of wireless connectivity. As a consumer, I get disappointed if I don’t see an option for wireless connectivity these days. At the upcoming CES event in January 2016, we can expect to see an explosion of wirelessly connected consumer devices.

 Wearing IoT
We will see us move from carryingIT/IoT devices to wearing IoT devices. We’re a little distant from having connectivity chips planted in our bodies 🙂 however like clothes, wearable devices will become part of our everyday living. The biggest advantage of embracing wearables is your email, app, text is always on you vs the pain of trying to find your smartphone when you misplace and need it the most. In the last couple years, there have been quite a few jewelry based IoT startups that are trying to connect your ring, necklace etc in an attempt to connect YOU. This space will be very active in 2016.

Software Driven Everything
Post connectivity, these devices need to be managed. Whether it is simple upgrade, security fix or control of connected devices, software is important. Software will manifest in multiple different ways – there are already a plethora of apps out there for simple day to day operations e.g. turning your home temperature up and down remotely. The revolution is already begun and we’re seeing software driven cars, drones, home appliances and many applications in commercial buildings and other industries.

Self-driving cars will become a ‘practical’ reality over the next few years but it will need internet connection and coherent interaction of software, machines and sub-systems. Software is also critical in the shape of IoT platforms to help develop apps, manage devices and more. In 2016, we will see new IoT software developer ecosystems evolve and there will be more interesting apps and possibly consolidation of IoT platforms as we go forward. Cloud will play a very active role as platforms evolve – Microsoft, IBM, Amazon and others are already pushing and positioning their cloud platforms for IoT.

 Analytics and Algorithms
Without data analytics and algorithms connected devices will still be pretty dumb. In the journey to ‘Ava’, we will see analytics taking a center stage. The ability to process data fast, visualize information, draw conclusion, make decisions and act at lightning speed – we will need machines to do all of that if we want to evolve to an automated world. 2016 will be the year when we will see self-learning capabilities added to more machines. This is critical to the successful formation of the humanoid brain which will be always connected and unlike human brains will be made of silicon and software.

I am looking forward to an exciting#BigIdeas2016 year as IoT transforms. Let the ‘Intelligent Things of the Internet’ talk in 2016!

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