How IoT is Changing the Future of Mobile
Wikepedia defines The Internet of Things (IoT) as ‘the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enables these things to connect and exchange data, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, resulting in efficiency improvements, economic benefits, and reduced human exertions.’ In simpler terms, it means various devices getting connected using the Internet and performing various functions.
Since today’s default option of a mobile phone is a smart phone, and these devices are most ubiquitous, it makes sense to use them as viewing and controlling devices for other devices at remote locations. If we see the evolution of communicating equipment, we have come from landlines to messagers to mobile phones, which keep growing smaller and smaller and more and more sophisticated. Now with the already installed hardware and software, they are functioning as tracking and controlling devices.
Let’s start with some definitions:
Mobile Devices: These are the wireless hand held devices we use to make phone calls and for other functions.
The Internet of Things (IoT) IoT devices or objects, also called “things” have unique identifiers; the devices contain embedded technology that enables them to connect to smart phones or other IoT devices and send and receive data over the internet, e.g. security systems, thermostats, light bulbs, cars, drones, speaker systems, medical devices, farm equipment, etc.
We are probably familiar with checking the output from security cameras at remote locations using our smart phones. Even if we are not too tech-savvy, we can still figure out this is done by using the internet. This is a common example of IoT in practice. Another familiar example of IoT in practice is taxi companies like Ola and Uber which directly track where the nearest driver is (using his mobile phone’s GPS coordinates), and can predict the expected time when he can reach you.
Thanks to the high speed cheap internet connectivity available in most areas today, mobile devices are being used more and more for net browsing and other internet operations. Apps are proliferating and becoming popular because they are easy and fulfilling to use and share.
Privacy concerns: If you are worried about privacy and security on IoT, mobile app developers ensure that consumer identities are protected and data encrypted. So IoT is not just freely available, it is also sufficiently secure, trustworthy and robust.
Estimates of growth: It has been projected that by 2020 about 30 billion objects will be internet-connected. This technological transformation will be ubiquitous, not just pertaining to random “things”, possibly the ‘Internet of Everything’. It is predicted that will impact society on a scale much greater than the Internet, with a projected $19 trillion dollar market by 2027.
Merging PCs and mobiles: Though laptop computers and mobile phones were considered different types of devices with different embedded software and functions, the ever-increasing functions that are packed into mobile phones have blurred the difference. Many are the functions of laptops that are now performed by smart phones. There are two radically different management architectures, one for PCs and another for smart phones. PCs are managed though system images, while smart phones and tablets are managed by a mechanism that adapts to their sandboxed architectures. But now, IT is making smart phones act like PCs through newer strategies, e.g. containerization (a pseudo system image). Possibly the next step will be making PCs perform on sandboxed architectures.
With estimates of over 12 billion IoT devices connected to the internet in 2017, some have estimated more than 30 billion IoT devices connected to the internet by 2020, with more and more IoT devices equipped with sensors and actuators to support cyber-physical systems. If you are looking to upgrade your skills to make yourself job ready in this field, possibly you should sign up for a suitable course in a reputed company like Jetking, which constantly upgrades its content and has 100% placement record.
Just mobile phones or more? But let us not limit our thinking by assuming that mobiles are just mobile phones. There are also other devices that currently work on Infrared (e.g. traditional wireless remote controls) and wi fi (e.g. your laptop instructing the printer to print something using wi fi). Some companies like Thalmic Labs (www.thalmiclabs.com) from Ontario, Canada, have started making wearable technology to control various devices. Currently these work in a distance of Line-of-Sight, but we can be sure that these will also soon work over longer distances using the Internet.
But what could be the negative effects of this IoT? ‘Helicopter’ parents and bosses will be able to micro manage things more and more. Employees will get even more tethered to their jobs, especially if their location is in a time zone different from their clients’ locations. People will become more and more addicted and attached to their smart phones, and more and more distant from family and others in the real world. Greater phone addiction will result in increased health risks. The current internet bandwidth will soon be saturated; newer bandwidths can only be at higher frequencies, which have higher health risks (like X rays and ‘hard’ X rays). There will also be hackers to create havoc.