2More Efficient Commutes on the Way
About 15 percent of commute time is spent in traffic, and about 17 percent of fuel is wasted in cities by drivers sitting at red lights. Sensors on our roads, traffic video cameras and median dividers will affect how our vehicles will “talk” to drivers. By monitoring traffic speed, stoplights, accidents and current road conditions, programmable cars and even roads will push the most efficient routes to drivers’ mobile devices, cutting down commute time, saving gas money and making our roads safer.
3Predicting Product Health
After a product is shipped, the interaction between the buyer and the vendor usually subsides, at least until the next buying period or a problem arises. Proactive technology can monitor the “health” of products to pinpoint issues before they arise. In this era of next-generation customer service, proactive product monitoring means a company can keep customers happy, watch product health around the clock and avoid problems.
4New Job Roles
The digital age has ushered in new IT jobs. With the rise of IoT, cloud and big data-related jobs are becoming more specialized. Gartner last year reported that the number of chief digital officers (CDOs) is on the rise, predicting that by 2015, 25 percent of companies will have such a specialist managing their digital goals. The data scientist also has become an important asset for companies. By embracing the value of big data and analytics, we’ll begin to see more chief data scientists, analysts and even chief customer-satisfaction officers. There will be some new jobs we can’t even imagine yet.
5Productivity at Work
The rise of social media has given way to a new age of communications and team collaboration. Valuable tools from the likes of Box, Skype, Jive and Facebook have captured the attention of the next-generation workforce. Video collaboration and imaging will take hold as millennials and digital natives rely on text messaging, FaceTime and Google Hangouts for true integrative communication at work, saving time and blurring social tools with modern collaborative work systems.
6Giving Structure to Unstructured Data
Big data isn’t just big—it’s huge. If used well, big data can create new value across the business when unstructured data is converted into structured data. Analyzing data and breaking it down into meaningful intelligence and analytics can tell a richer story about customers, product behavior, market position, employee productivity and more.
Sensory meters have already been operating in a small number of office buildings and homes today, but going forward, this will become a necessity in building standards for modern building infrastructures. Installed movement sensors can turn off or on lighting fixtures, heaters/air conditioning, coffee machines and televisions as people move throughout the room or head home. These sensors are already integrated into blinds, using temperature and sunlight to determine how far they open and close, which can improve energy efficiency, save money and help the environment.
8Location, Location, Location
IoT will make location tracking simpler. Currently done via phones, cars and even in hospitals, Internet-connected equipment and devices will be geographically tagged, saving valuable resources. Companies will be able to track every aspect of their business quickly, from inventory to order fulfillment, to locating and deploying field services and staff. Tools, factories and vehicles will all be connected by location-based technology, making the entire chain ever more efficient.
9Smarter Water Cooler Chat
Even water coolers can be connected in IoT, making a trip to the water cooler a better use of time. For example, the water cooler (or coffee machine, snack bar and so on) will be intelligent enough to remember personal preferences, be voice- and motion-activated, and even deliver drinks on demand without a wait.
10Doctors at Work
The IoT is changing the way doctors work, the patient experience and the overall doctor-patient relationship. Today, a patient’s condition must still be assessed live in the presence of the doctor, face-to-face. In the future, IoT will enable devices to read data directly from a person’s body, enabling doctors to access real-time patient data remotely. Palo Alto Research Center, for example, is far along in developing a product in this realm. New IT also means a doctor can meet with a patient from any place in the world. This will fundamentally change how health care services are delivered (including in remote parts of the world), move health care from reactive to proactive treatment, and possibly prevent major health incidents and disease in a way never before possible.
11Planning Work Around the Weather
Today, weather forecasts rely on a few satellites or ground-based weather stations as primary data-gathering points. In the future, billions of sensors will be integrated into different devices and stations in the sky and on the ground. Using big data analysis to better predict the Earth’s health will enable more sophisticated and accurate weather and climate-change predictions. This will mean more accurately forecasting extreme weather well in advance so that commuters can better plan a work week. On a global scale, the IoT can mean more accurately predicting climate trends and natural disasters.