2016 was a doozy. Politics, technology and social change converged in a way we’ve never seen before, and, as a result, we transition into 2017 with an uncertain future full of incredible possibilities. One thing that IS certain, though, is that IoT is not only here to stay but, growing rapidly in our every day lives.
As it stands, the Internet of Things is occasionally used interchangeably with the “connected world.” But, as technology matures, and we have the ability to harness more power and control with devices that fit in our hands, it might be time to ask just how much longer we need to differentiate between the “connected” world and, simply, the world? Maybe 2017 is the year that will mark the tipping point between marveling at what IoT technology could do, and marveling at what it is doing. Still, as we look back through the 2016, it is with some amazement that we can regard sheer breadth of IoT implementation. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of our favorite blogs and news items from throughout the year. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Perhaps one of the fastest growing commercial technologies in 2016, drones have proven a utility that spans the incredible to the mundane. Delivering medical supplies to remote or war-torn areas, conducting bridge inspections, taking photographs and more, the ability to deploy a technology that can do everything from saving human lives to providing simple entertainment is remarkable.
As far as natural disasters go, it’s hard to really say one is more devastating than another, but earthquakes have a huge capacity for destruction. There are several zones around the world that are waiting for the “big one,” and while a massive seismic event like that is probably inevitable, our ability to monitor that activity not only can help predict when and where those events might happen, but also to save the lives of people living within those areas. Seismic monitoring can also help us determine how buildings and infrastructure need to be constructed to withstand any potential large-scale activity.
Since its inception, we’ve been huge fans and proponents of the Sensor-2-Server (S2S) concept, and the more we’ve looked, the more we’ve seen companies – and entire industries, even – begin implementing data practices that will allow them to execute locally and communicate globally. It’s a hot topic of conversation, and from what we can tell, it’s become the backbone of the future of IoT in industrial settings. But, don’t take our word for it: Brandon Lewis, the technology editor for IoT Design spoke earlier this year with Scott Allen about this very topic.
Industries like manufacturing and agriculture have used robotics for many years now, and were perhaps the earliest industrial proponents of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology. M2M sounds almost antiquated these days, but up through 2015, and even still in some industries in 2016, M2M was considered a synonym of IoT. As the two slowly became disentangled, we saw the rise of the Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT), a concept which may or may not stick, depending on how seamlessly robotics are integrated into the connected infrastructure in the future. Will robots take over the world?
As corny as it sounds, 2016 was the year that the Fog came into focus. Previously, industry experts spoke of Fog Computing as a future possibility that would require great networking and analytics overhauls. Well, companies heeded the call, and we saw the birth of what could potentially be considered an entire new industry. Fog Computing solves a major problem facing industrial organizations: the ability to collect data is greater than ever before, but what do you do with that data? How do you process it? How can you cut out unneeded data to create analytics applications that provide the intelligence needed in the 21st Century? 2017 will see a refinement of these processes, and potentially a divergence between the Private and Public Fog.
There are many things to look forward to in 2017, both positive and negative. Cybersecurity concerns grow with each passing day, but the ability to connect with, and help, humans around the world grows as well. We’re optimistic about the future for many reasons, and the concepts we’ve highlighted here are really just the tip of the iceberg. What does 2017 have in store for us? Stay tuned for a few of our top predictions for 2017. In the meantime, have a happy New Year!