Connectivity changes the way we use technology. It impacts how we work, play and socialize.
In the 19th century, railways changed commerce and travel, while copper lines brought telegrams and phone calls. The world became smaller, and businesses changed the world with these new tools.
Similarly, this happened with the 20th century’s highways, airplanes and transatlantic communication lines.
Twenty years ago, over 1 billion people were able to connect their personal computers to the Internet. Email and instant messaging became a common form of communications replacing fax, memos and letters.
The last decade saw this same level of connectivity added to our mobile devices. Email became something you did from a device in your pocket. Tasks that were once limited to your office computer could now be accessed from a small portable device. Instant messaging and other application data could reside in your pocket adding three to four times the connectivity that computers brought.
Now, we have the Internet of Things (IoT). For each connected person, we can potentially see 10-50 or even hundreds of “things” (other devices) connected to the Internet. Think cars, light switches, wearables, streetlights, infrastructure, appliances and even shipments. Researchers estimate that almost 50 billion objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020.
Just as we have seen in our history, connectivity is a huge game changer for our lives and businesses. Items that currently require manual data collection, or were ignored, can one day soon instantly provide data to models for predictions and real-time reports. The “if this, then that” of programming will allow for smarter applications that instantaneously react to environmental variables For example, as a person’s car approaches home, the user could turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, and display tomorrow’s schedule on the TV. The opportunities for data and connectivity are limitless.
Many people may be overwhelmed by the implications of such a change ahead, others may see the potential opportunities to become more competitive or engage new markets. Regardless of where you are on this spectrum, we all must prepare our networks, applications and staff for this new world ahead. The infrastructure we build today will support this brave new world of devices tomorrow.