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The Next Big Thing for Tech in 2020

The Next Big Thing for Tech in 2020
by Raj Kosaraju on 03-03-2016 at 4:00 pm

 Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be some 30 billion connected devices. IDC is even more bullish and expects there to be about 200 billion connected devices by 2021.

Around the world, city, state and federal governments, as well as other public-sector organizations, are leading the way in bringing the Internet of Everything to life. The way we access the internet has changed rapidly over the past few years, transitioning from desktops to mobile devices.

Now, the internet is expanding again – coming to all of the everyday devices found in our homes, businesses, and cities.

The Internet of Everything is a $19 trillion global opportunity over the next decade: Private-sector firms can create as much as $14.4 trillion of value while cities, governments and other public-sector organizations can create $4.6 trillion. (Cisco).

As we all know, technology is evolving rapidly. It has, and will continue to, profoundly change our lives in the years to come. Just four years ago, it would have been hard to imagine we would have access to the kind information we now have in our pockets. So what will the future look like four years from now? What kind of positive changes can we expect to see rising out of the Internet of Everything (IoE) by 2020?

1) By 2020 we could expect to see a massive Internet of Everything in linear knowledge taking place through any device, anywhere.
This process perfectly captures how a connection between the four pillars of IoE – people, process, data and things – is already influencing. Though currently, physical attendance is the norm; by 2020 we could expect to see tuition taking place through any device, anywhere. The rise of the Internet of Everything looks promising. Technology’s adoption by schools and universities has not always kept pace with advances in consumer technology. However, the level of connectivity offered by the Internet of Everything has the potential to vastly enrich the learning process for students around the globe. Technology education is evolving from a linear knowledge-transfer model, to a more collaborative, engaging process. Rather than a bottlenecked route for information to come from set textbooks, students are able to use the internet to discover their own sources of information to add to the overall learning process.

Through IoE, the linear knowledge-sharing dialogue between teacher and student can evolve into something entirely within the student’s control. They will be able to learn at their own pace, focusing more on what they perceive as relevant to them. The Internet of Everything is also increasing the impact students are having on shaping the education process. For example, students are keen to use data-gathering devices to tag physical objects, which would then relay back live information. This could include sensors and webcams to monitor live animals and their behaviour, or devices to record tidal patterns, temperature, rainfall, air quality etc. This way, students would be directly involved in the collection of data, and not simply given facts and figures to analyse.

2) IoE will help solve two of the biggest problems facing the world
The Internet of Everything will help solve two of the biggest problems facing the world: energy and health care. We long ago inserted “intelligence” into objects in the form of thermostats and the like; the internet of everything will extend this principle exponentially, giving us unprecedented control over the objects that surround us. So when we talk about using internet of things in healthcare and buildings it is just the continuation of our effort to automate things and make life simpler.

Over the next decade, we can expect to see the 99 percent of the electronics yet to be connected to the Internet becoming intelligent, connected devices. Connecting all of these devices and making them smart, is all about improving the world’s ‘connected intelligence’. The Internet of Everything will enable faster decision-making, greater sustainability and substantial innovation. This will affect not just the way we do our jobs, but the kinds of jobs we do.

3) Smarter Manufacturing will be the word of the day
Over the next ten years, we will see industrial process and IT intersecting. Alongside devices and the data they produce, we’re going to see IoE becoming much more fundamental to production processes. Sometimes referred to as ‘smarter manufacturing’, the industry is entering a new digitalised environment with the help of IoE. It certainly stands to reason manufacturing plants themselves will need to be as ‘intelligent’ as the billions of connected devices they produce, if not more so. Manufacturing and IT will become inherently connected by 2022 and, as such, both sectors will gain a far deeper understanding of the other. The connection between the two will open up new territories, and with new territory comes the need for new skills and new job roles.

4) New opportunities to create new products and services as products become connected
Businesses will see new opportunities to create new products and services based around growing IoE connections. Success will likely become dependent on willingness to venture into the connected frontier with those businesses which stay behind losing their relevance in the ever-connected world. As products become connected – as milk cartons go digital and toothbrushes become intelligent – the amount of data produced will be vast. In connecting the unconnected, a process which is currently churning out 25,000 connecting devices every 15 minutes, it is estimated that 220,000 new engineers will be needed each year between now and 2022. Such roles will revolve largely around processing the vast amounts of data produced by billions of new devices.

We’re likely to see a far greater demand for skilled IT workers, needed to update legacy networks with innovative new storage methods. In the past two years alone, we’ve produced more data than the preceding three decades which means we need people to manage it all. Data also needs protecting and there is a huge need for more cybersecurity professionals – something outlined in the Cisco Annual Security Report 2014.

5) We’re going to see these changes becoming more ubiquitous
Gartner predicts that enterprises will make extensive use of IoE technology, and there will be a wide range of products sold into various markets. These will include advanced medical devices, factory automation sensors and applications in industrial robotics, sensor motes for increased agricultural yield, and automotive sensors and infrastructure integrity monitoring systems for diverse areas such as road and railway transportation, water distribution and electrical transmission; an endless list of products and services.

Cloud, mobility, big data are all converging and making a seamless network, but the success of this convergence depends heavily on the ability to actually move and access the data. And considering that millions of additional devices (some of which are just sensors) will enter the equation means its time for further investment and quick. Over the next decade we’re going to see these changes becoming more ubiquitous. Signs the transformation is already underway can be seen in the kind of technology that’s appearing, be it wearable technology, home controls or Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes.

Once such devices can communicate with each other – via the Internet of Everything infrastructure – is when the transformation will be rapid and substantial, creating richer everyday experiences for us all. Soon enough, sensors will be everywhere. Built into billions of devices, they will be the building blocks on which the city of tomorrow stands. The connection between people, processes, data and things will create an infrastructure that will entirely transform even the most everyday of tasks. What was once a futuristic concept – the Internet of Everything (IoE) – is fast becoming a reality.

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