We have already magnetised people’s eyeballs to a constantly flickering stream of visuals that blurs boundaries of geography, crunches time and events to an instant, shrinks the world, realities and cultures. Now we will move a step further. The voice activated feature on your personal robot will record and disseminate to the internet comments that you make about your friends, neighbours, boss and others. Your religious affiliation will be known by your smart refrigerator, if for example, you regularly buy kosher food. What you look like when undressed may be revealed by your home security camera. How grimy your house is, will be known from your smart vacuum cleaner.
The possibilities are endless. You just lost your job as your frequent drinking habit has been reported to your boss. Imagine your home temperature being adjusted as soon as you wake up. You have walked to your bedroom leaving your TV on in the drawing room and the TV automatically gets switched off. You read the news in the mirror while shaving. John Deere will modify the horsepower rating on the same engine using software and sell to different customer segments.GE will compete head on with non traditional competition. Smart connected products not only transform existing products but change the industry boundaries. The devices are widely expected to improve public health by keeping patients in closer touch with doctors, reduce highway deaths by automatically braking vehicles to avoid crashes, boost food supplies by helping farmers tend their crops, and quickly notify authorities about environmental mishaps The nature of things gets changed as expanded capabilities of smart, connected products and the data they generate are ushering in a new era. IT will now become a integral part of product itself and this will revolutionize products. Welcome to the world of Internet of Things.
Smart components amplify the capabilities and value of the physical components, while connectivity amplifies the capabilities and value of the smart components and enables some of them to exist outside the physical product itself resulting in a virtuous cycle of value creation ( Reference : Michael Porter & James Heppelmann). Internet of things will help people see what they’re actually doing. When you pick up the kids, how fast do you drive ? It will help you avoid traffic jams as you travel from work to that hot new spot you’ve been dying to try out and let you check your home video monitors while knocking back a few to see if your cat is clawing the couch again. But it also might alert your insurer if your car is weaving when you head home. How much time do you spend in your kitchen ? Are you sneezing too often and the local pharmacy gets alerted ! You will be spied on continuously even within the sanctuary of your home.
“It” is the Internet of Things, which promises to transform daily life, making it easier to work, travel, shop and stay healthy. Thanks to billions of connected devices — from smart toothbrushes and thermostats to commercial drones and robotic companions for the elderly — it also will end up gathering vast amounts of data that could provide insights about our sexual habits, religious beliefs, political leanings and other highly personal aspects of our lives. That creates a potentially enormous threat to our privacy.
Personal data is like the new oil of the internet. Its a new asset class and we don’t have regulations to treat it. We need data banks and data auditing. Will Internet of things drive us out of recession and make waves of autonomous innovations? Probably yes, what at cost? Can we agree on a set of rules and regulations on privacy?
Just what happens to the data spewed out by all these interlinked machines is a deep concern shared by many security researchers, legal authorities, government officials and consumer advocates. They fear the information could be used to skew our credit ratings, jack up our insurance rates, help hackers steal our money, or enable spy agencies to compile detailed dossiers on each of us. Moreover, they say, this vast sea of data could be misused to put a high-tech twist on the age-old curse of discrimination, with unscrupulous landlords or employers excluding people based on the data they’ve secretly acquired. And if you’ve declared your political allegiance in private comments, your voice-activated gadgets might have picked those up and stored them as text on the Internet.
Your home security camera tapes the two of you undressing and its face-recognition software determines your date is a prominent local official, while your wearable fitness device calculates from the calories you proceed to burn that you must be having sex. Disclosing those details could prove embarrassing, especially if you’re both married. It could be even more so if your wireless health monitor a week later fires off an alert to your doctor that you’ve just contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
Among those hoping to gain access to the information are advertisers. They plan to parse it for details about consumers so they then can pitch them products tailored to their individual preferences via their brainy gadgets, which could result in people’s homes being deluged with ads. In a regulatory filing, Google forecast that “a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses and watches, to name just a few possibilities.”
Some experts fear the data gathered and shared by all these computerized gadgets also could make it easier for the government to spy on their citizens. Another worry is that the technology could spark a surge in crime. Many existing medical devices, cars and other connected gear have been found vulnerable to hackers, who already have caused numerous high-profile data breaches. And as those devices multiply, experts fear, so do the opportunities for cybercrooks to snatch financial or other information belonging to vast numbers of people.
Nonetheless, the technology is exploding, with research firm IDC predicting that smart, Internet-linked objects will number more than 200 billion and generate in excess of $7 trillion in annual sales by 2020.
As Porter mentions, we will have autonomous innovations unlike the muted ones we saw in last decade. With that will come the obsolescence of technologies and gadgets currently in use. It strikes me that, given the rampant innovation taking place, wearable and interactive devices could well be standard technology on the market. Bye bye to the gadgets we use now , including mobile phone gadgets. More of this later.