Kathy Gibson reports from the MTN IoT Conference in Sandton – The 50-bilion devices that are expected to be connected by 2020 translates to about six devices for each person on the planet.
And, with $1,3-trillion being spent on Internet of Things (IoT), about one-quarter of that will be in the factory environment, making the Fourth Industrial Revolution reality.
Dion Chang, founder of Flux Trends, believes that the human race will in fact start to merge with technology in ways that we haven’t imagined before.
Even toys are becoming connected, and use artificial intelligence (AI) to adapt to individual children’s preferences, Chang points out.
2017 has been touted as the year of voice, and this is going to change the way we react with the devices we interact with.
“In essence the machines are rising – and we are starting to talk to them,” says Chang.
In practical terms, the technology will be used to drive things like retail trends.
“I have been introduced to a number of bots that free up workers to do other things,” says Chang. “For instance, automation can help retailers to speed up processes like stock-taking.”
While financial services and retail are already in the eye of the storm, industries that are about to be disrupted include healthcare and automotive, he adds.
In the industrial arena, major disruptions are coming too, Chang believes. More significantly, the industrial IoT will start to affect society as a whole.
For example, robots are moving from the factory to the world at large, with robots now being deployed to act as security officers.
As smart supply chain management becomes more prevalent, that will have a ripple effect through the supply chain.
Meanwhile, smart mining is already a reality in Australia.
Western Australia already produces 40% of the world’s iron ore, and the output is expected to double in the next couple of years.
Driverless trucks and trains help mines to overcome skills shortages while they improve productivity and lower costs.
The impact of IoT on society will be equally immense, Chang says.
In Singapore, the government has created the network, but freely shares the information with citizens and service providers.
Billing itself as a smart nation, the city state exposes realtime transport data so that solutions can be co-created. Additional data sources will help to drive new and innovative applilcations.