The unexplored potential of the Internet of Things

The great change that the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring to people's lives is beyond the facility of brewing coffee, scheduling a hot bath, or saving on the light bill. Giving connectivity to objects and making room for intelligent commands on numerous day-to-day tasks is one of the main purposes of IoT. But not only that. Internet of Things means increasing productivity at work, improving urban mobility and public and private security, streamlining processes and more.

When the use of traditional cards was replaced by e-mail, for example, the advantages were not limited to the easy to diagram, correct and save. This technological evolution allowed the user, among other activities, real-time interactions and connection between several people at the same time. Important changes, no doubt, have been enlarged from connectivity. With IoT, the scenario repeats itself: interconnected, objects will gain functions and bring previously unimagined benefits to our lives.

There are already several practical examples of IoT use in the residential environment. Lamps, speakers, cameras and remote controls that make homes "smart" help in basic tasks, the personalization of environments and control of energy costs. In the corporate environment, IoT is already in sensors able to identify the presence of employees in the work place and free access of people and vehicles with ease. Another example of the presence of IoT is in devices that verify the need for machine maintenance and real-time tracking systems of different assets such as vehicles and IT equipment. It's all very exciting, but it's just the beginning.

We speak naturally about intelligent cities. Large cities already use IoT to integrate security, transportation, sanitation, health and education. A very interesting example is San Diego, in the United States, where a network of connected devices emits frequent data on climate, lighting, sound, traffic and parking for a cloud platform, from which developers can create applications with several goals: increase energy efficiency, monitor hazards and natural disasters, improve transit, and also support crime prevention and monitoring.

In Brazil, important barriers such as price and connectivity should delay the popularization of technology. The connectivity of IoT devices will truly reach its full potential when 5G technologies (enabling high speed and low latency and NarrowBand-IoT (which provides long range coverage with low battery consumption of the devices) are present in all However, the price of technology, as in the past, will depend on the gains of scale that must occur in the next few years in the world.

From the point of view of solution providers and IoT, one of the biggest challenges will be to offer a good experience to the end user, an issue addressed by Gartner as fundamental. According to the global consultancy, IoT's user experience will encompass a vast list of design technologies and techniques and will be driven by factors such as new sensors, algorithms, experience and context architectures, and detectable social experiences. With the increasing number of interactions between devices without screens and keyboards, IoT designers will be forced to use innovative technologies such as voice and image recognition and other perspectives to deliver positive user experiences.

Regarding investments in the area, the IDC consultancy projects that the IoT segment will move US $ 745 billion worldwide in 2019, with the potential to exceed the US $ 1 trillion mark in 2022, mainly driven by contributions from the industrial and retail. 

In the face of such expressive numbers and interest in technology, one might think that soon it will be usual for the curtain to open by itself in the morning, the temperature of the shower to be programmed by the cell phone, the refrigerator to warn about the food that is ending and there against. There is a long road ahead until the Internet of Things actually changes people's routine in the projected proportion. Price and connectivity are considerable barriers, not to mention dominating innovative and recent technologies. For IoT to be ubiquitous, cities, businesses and people will have to prepare, and that takes time. However, once adapted, it is a path with no return.

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