Internet of Things, blog by Great Lakes Professor. T. N. Swaminathan
IoT - Connecting a billion devices, a consumer paradise or a privacy nightmare ?
Amidst all the technological advances that are taking place today, Internet of Things (IoT) might perhaps be the biggest of all disruptions, which will soon change the way we live. To recount my own personal experience during a recent visit to Boston, US, where I was visiting my daughter; I happened to witness how IoT can make every day’s life easier. My daughter drove us from Logan International airport (Boston) to their home. I noticed that the car did not have to slow or stop for any of the Tolls. Automatic toll payment has been in existence for a few years now in USA & Europe.So, the actual excitement was not that.
Since my daughter’s home was a thirty minutes’ drive from the airport, we decided to stop for a Pizza at the California Pizza Kitchen on Natick Mall. While proceeding from the mall to her home, the temperature was at 120C. And this is when I saw something. My daughter switched on from her iPhone, heating at home! Well, this was the first time I saw IoT in operation as a consumerexperience and it was amazing.
What is IoT?
According to Wiki, The internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items— embedded with electronics, software sensors and connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. In 2013, Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as "the infrastructure of the information society", creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.
IoT – The beginning and history
In 1999, British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton coined the term Internet of Things (IoT) while working at Auto-ID Labs (originally called Auto-ID centers). Ashton was working as an assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1997 when he became interested in using RFID to help manage P&G's supply chain. This work led him to MIT, where he helped start an RFID research consortium called the Auto-ID Center with professors Sanjay Sarma and Sunny Siu and researcher David Brock. The center opened in 1999 as an industry sponsored research project with the goal of creating a global open standard system to put RFID everywhere.
Ashton then became a high-tech entrepreneur with start-ups. One of his start-ups was Belkin WeMo home automation system. WeMo is a series of products that enables users to control home electronics from anywhere from an iOS or an android smartphone running the WeMo App, via home WiFi or mobile phone network.
The bigger impact of IoT
Legal scholars suggest looking at "Things" in IoT as an "inextricable mixture of hardware, software, data and service". These devices collect useful data with the help of various existing technologies and then autonomously flow the data between other devices. Current market examples include smart thermostat systems and washer/dryers that use Wi-Fi for remote monitoring. That is precisely what I saw in operation.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is more than just a smart home electrical switching or a refrigerator reminding that you are out of milk! This disruptive technology is going to impact Workplace, Hospitals, Factories and warehouses, Dynamic applications & delivery to mention a few.
According to Ben Rossi in Information Age (October 15, 2015), the 2015 IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona saw participants present ingenuous cases of IoT implementation at their workplaces, while others dug deeper on the ROI of this disruptive technology; discovering how smart factories with machine-to-machine communication and collaboration could progressively reduce costs, increase productivity and boost profitability.
Thanks to IoT, we can expect our own Great Lakes Institute of Management’s campus likely to be a smart campus besides being a Green Campus soon. There is no doubt that we are in the middle of a revolution and IoT is not just going to disrupt our day-to-day mundane activities, it is also going to impact the business landscape. Will the Internet of Things be a consumer paradise or a privacy nightmare? Will discuss more!!!!
This article was written by Professor TN Swaminathan, a Professor of Marketing and Director, PR & Alumni Relations at Great Lakes Institute of Management. He is also a Visiting Faculty at many top Indian B-schools. The highlight of his 33-year old corporate career was his role as CEO of Tate & Lyle North America’s joint venture in India. The article was originally published in Business Line On Campus on June 16, 2016.