ANALYSIS: We have the Internet of Things technology, but its use has yet to properly get off the ground
The Internet of Things (IoT) will rule the world, and I for one welcome our tech overlords and their connected…well….everything.
But having dragged myself to Barcelona and back again for IoT Solution World Congress, despite all the radical changes touted by the rise of the IoT, I was left with a metaphorical disappointing taste in my mouth.
Sure, Intel took to the keynote stage to debunk myths about the cloud being the be all and end all for IoT, as well as showcasing a swanky new atom chip, and the likes of Microsoft championed the next steps for what’s next in the IoT arena.
The so-called Industrial IoT appears to be getting up and going with systems that can track production and maintenance needs in factories and help boost crop yields in agriculture. Yet, elsewhere things like smart cities and IoT networks that deliver digital data to empower the public seem to be lacking, despite IoT tech having matured beyond the concept of a smart fridge.
Smart tech silos
In Barcelona, an apparent leader in smart cites, there are IoT connected bins to cut down on wasted miles made by refuse trucks and smart transport such as real-time countdowns of when a subway train will arrive. We can see the IoT in action; noticeable yet rather seamless.
That’s a city in a nation somewhat battered by a volatile economy over the past five or so years. As I made my way from the airport limbo of Stansted to London’s Square Mile, chock full of some of the most powerful financial institution in the world, I couldn’t help notice how ‘dumb’ the capital is in comparison to Barcelona.
There are smart systems working in London but to me they appear to be operating in silos and lack a huge amount of interconnectivity.
Wander through many of the parks on a weekend afternoon and you’ll see overfilled bins spewing out litter onto the precious patches of green land the city has gobbled up.
According to tech luminaries this could be avoided with smart sensors triggering a waste disposal company to take care of the rubbish before urban foxes, pigeons and seagulls propagate the mess in a form of environmental disaster in a microcosm.
Then there are the lack of updates pinging to my smartphone from IoT networks. Why do I not get alerts telling me my favourite hipster burger place is worth avoiding as the queue is longer than the extent of my patience, or notifications informing me where footfall in Soho is at its lowest so I can enjoy a Friday night pint without queuing for 30 minutes and then getting shoved at the bar?