The Internet of Things: A Universal World?
Whether consumer or industrial. Whether you’ve heard it called IoT, Industry 4.0, or the smart factory, the Internet of Things is here and it’s only going to grow. I particularly like the term the Internet of Everything. It’s quite descriptive if you think about the ultimate goal—everything connected to everyone and everything else.
And doesn’t this connectivity to everything necessitate “universality” amongst products (and hopefully amongst people)? The potential for a utopian society aside, is IoT a solution to an extremely common frustration in our technology driven world—things not working together?
We’ve most likely all experienced it or witnessed a friend, colleague or family member struggle with it. Recently, hearing a colleague’s frustration I approached his desk to see what was happening. I found him attempting to plug a device into his laptop. Holding the connector in his hand, he said (verbatim), “Why don’t they just make this work with this!”
Again, evidence of this phenomenon is not rare. I think in many ways it is because technology has jaded us. We get used to the benefits that technology has provided. We’ve become accustomed to being able to check our e-mails from anywhere, but when that ability is denied for a brief moment we do not look back and remember the time when it wasn’t possible at all and marvel at the progress we have made as a society. No, we become frustrated that we can’t check that e-mail or search that web site as we ride a shuttle from the parking lot to the airport terminal. Just human nature, I guess.
In other ways, it is because of the fast-paced growth of technology itself. I remember back when VHS was the new great thing. I built my movie collection and relished the fact that I could watch my favorite movies over and over again from the comfort of my home. Then, DVD became the standard, and, not just because of the better quality, convenience, and longevity of the new format, but also because VHS players became obsolete and hard to find, I was basically forced to replace all of my beloved VHS movies with DVDs.
Since this is an international publication, I also will mention that this universality would need to extend across borders and continents and cultural differences. Anyone who has ever traveled from one part of the world to another has most likely come across the differences that exist among power outlets, realizing, often quite suddenly, that their electric razor or smartphone won’t receive a charge in the Czech Republic without the right adapter.
Sometimes these differences are even evident among the same products produced by different companies, a few times even as a result of the same company updating its product. Some video games are only available to play on a certain system. For instance, “Ace Combat 7” is exclusive to PlayStation 4, so good luck if you own an X-Box and want to fly combat missions over hostile territory.
Before this starts to sound too much like a bad review on Amazon (hopefully an experience and reference that will not be lost on you, our international reader), let me bring it back around. Usually, when we talk about standards we are talking of maintaining a certain level of quality, a certain level of safety, a certain level of energy efficiency. Particularly with the coming of the Internet of Things, we also are talking about things working together. Does this not mean a certain level of the ability to interact across platforms, across products, and even across companies?
We want to know your thoughts so join the discussion on our LinkedIn page. In the meantime, catch up on the latest on IoT with, “The 7 Biggest Mistakes Manufacturers Make,” “The Internet of Things and the Modern Supply Chain,” “After the Smart Phone: The Smart Home,” and everything else we have to offer in this year’s IAM.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!