January 15, 2018
Watch any movie from the 90’s or older and you’ll find yourself frustrated by situations that would never happen today simply due to technological advancements. Take the 1990 Christmas classic Home Alone for instance. After being forced to sleep in the attic, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister wakes up to discover his family left for vacation without him. He is left to fend for himself, outsmart the local robbers and it takes his mother days to return back to Chicago. Even for 1990, the situation is a little far-fetched. If a similar situation happened today, Kevin’s mom would pull out her smartphone and book the next flight out of Paris on her Expedia app while setting her Nest home alarm system to keep Kevin safe until a supervising adult came over. Kevin may even ask his mom’s Alexa to order him an Uber to take him to a friend’s house.
We can thank the internet of things (IoT) for these game-changing devices. IoT technologies not only take our businesses to the next level when it comes to intelligence, visibility and efficiency, they also greatly enhance our everyday lives in terms of security, convenience and maximizing experiences. Granted, some of the best adventure tales stemmed from facing adversity without the help of some of the technological conveniences we enjoy today, it’s difficult to argue that our lives haven’t improved as a result of IoT innovations.
The automotive industry is one of the leading fields for IoT innovation. Our cars become increasingly intelligent as computers, sensors and internet connectivity become integrated into our vehicles. The advancement of autonomous vehicles further catalyzes the demand for IoT creating new opportunities and increased market share for chip makers. The success of autonomous vehicles will rely on the seamless integration of artificial intelligence and IoT to optimize safety, routing and the overall passenger experience.
Popular among consumers, virtual assistants from Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Echo also improve our everyday lives. While these devices are often perceived simply as toys, they also drive simple efficiencies and help us multitask. While these systems are inherently bias towards the companies that manufacture them, integration into existing ecosystems such as Google or Amazon help us stay organized and execute tasks faster. For example, a busy mother of three briefly remembers while packing lunches and heading out the door to the office that she’s out of paper towels. She simply asks her Alexa to place an order and she’ll receive them by the end of the day. Meanwhile, she didn’t have to stop what she was doing, add paper towels to her list or remember to stop by the store on her way home.
These simple efficiencies made possible by IoT may seem small or trivial in the grander scheme of things, but can greatly reduce some of our daily stresses and improve our overall well being.