The world has gone through a series of major periods that shaped civilization. First, the agrarian revolution, then the industrial revolution and now we are in the middle of the technological age. The internet is the main driving force for this age.
At first, the only way to access and use the internet was through computers. Over time, both the hardware and the software improved. Now, we can access the internet with more than just our computers. Furthermore, more people are getting connected. One can say that we have become a world of people connected to each other.
However, it’s not only the people that are getting connected, but machines and other inanimate systems as well. We have cars, homes, streets and many other things. More than simply connecting to the internet, these systems are connected to each other. This is what many have come to call, ‘the internet of things’. Everyday items are connected to the internet and communicate with each other.
Here’s an example to help better conceive of this concept. Imagine that you are leaving work on a cold evening. Before you do though, you get on your phone and start your home app. From there, you are able to tell your house to make you coffee, warm up the house and have music playing when you get home. All this is possible because your house and the items in your house are all connected to the internet and can ‘speak’ to each other.
For a moment, try and think of the potential that the Internet of Things has to offer! More and more devices are getting ‘smarter’. In the transport sector, we now have driverless cars being tested and will soon hit the roads. The cars are not only able to map out their environments, they are also able to communicate with each other and provide traffic information. In the IT sector, there are huge advancements in relation to Artificial Intelligence. With more people getting home assistants such as Alexa, imagine getting purchase suggestions from your assistant based on what your friends have been purchasing. Or your fridge having the ability to tell you when your food is going bad because it knows when you ordered it through your assistant. The possibilities are endless.
With all this connectivity, there are fears of privacy being violated. Some fear that this interconnectedness may be a breeding ground for hackers. Others fear that this may be the steps that lead to a world ruled by machines, should they become smarter than us. What about providers of these products collecting private information?
To address all these fears, governments are starting to write laws in anticipation of this brave new world. The creators of these products are also looking at responsible ways to move forward. The most important piece to all this, the consumers, are strongly embracing the way forward.
What we now have is a world of amazing potential developing before our eyes. What role will you play?