Exploring the Impact of the Internet of Things
by Kathy Pretz, "the institute" - IEEE USA
The “next big thing” is the Internet of Things, a world of networked devices equipped with sensors and radio-frequency identification aimed at interconnecting all things electronic to make them more intelligent and programmable.
About 50 billion machines and devices could be linked by 2020, according to Cisco Systems, a leader in the IoT movement. Such smart devices are already being used, for example, to check soil moisture in vineyards, control the carbon emission of factories, alert drivers to traffic jams, and monitor patients’ blood pressure—all without human intervention. But people will have a major role to play as they generate and use the data coming from these myriad devices.<br/><br/>
While the IoT offers plenty of business opportunities, it also, naturally, presents challenges for engineers, who must build ever more complex systems, deal with a lack of standards, and figure out ways to analyze the deluge of data. Societal issues also intrude, such as the need to keep personal information private while regulating who uses it and for what purpose. These and other issues are why the IEEE Future Directions Committee, the organization’s R&D arm, recently launched its IoT initiative.