Published December 2017
Will this be the last Christmas?
Will IT, or A.I. soon take away our freedom of choice, movement, religion, breakdown currency and declare countries null and void? …
Sensational article title? I don’t know … the potential is certainly there.
The control is still currently ours… but I’m not sure who I trust more… people, or a Thing which has been decided to do more than us… and its logic is unquestionable.
Let’s get to the bottom of this .... The Internet of things.
What is it?
A network of physical Things… devices, such as watches, phones, smart TVs, vehicles, smart fridges, and even the office printer, lots and lots of other ‘Things’
All these ‘things’ have something in common: they all are embedded with equipped / electronics designed to allow inter device (things) communication, and most with special software that makes use of either on-board sensors or actuators (an actuator is a component of a machine that is responsible for moving or controlling a mechanism or changing real / physical things in an environment) or both, while exchanging data in near or real time to perform a desired outcome or work towards a result more efficiently than we could. This network piggy backs off the internet. Abbreviated we call it ‘IoT’ – regardless, I think it is badly named.
IoT is really not about the internet at all. It should rather be called the betterment of supply and demand for people’s needs… Thing. Of course that’s too long winded.
So, that’s what it is…. But why is it such a ‘big thing’ …
I think that anyone who has seen the movies The Matrix will understand when I say that the biggest decision mankind is going to make over the next decade, perhaps less years, is to take the red pill or the blue pill.
I think we will be at point of digital dilemma very soon, everyone having to decide to either plug into the system or not.
As a baby is born, or maybe even before! Mom has to decide : do I connect my baby to this Thing… so this Thing can help the childs’ chances of survival by monitoring its organs, or not? Or work out a cure for a hereditary decease?
Or perhaps have this Thing track my child with an implant when he/she is older, just in case my child gets lost or abducted?
Choice must be allowed … and protected.
I do think you will get two main types of The Internet of Things , and the categories are:
IoT for the person: or more specifically personal use, like at the home – mostly for house automation: known as domotics: using main hub or controller devices to provide us with a central control for all devices: lighting, watering our plants, heating, air conditioning, vacuuming, media and security systems. You name it! It could probably be done.
Benefits include less costly home to run, or just having your coffee ready when you wake up! Yaaas!
Of course, there are person fitness devices, or finding your car in the parking lot with your cell phone.
Endless applications: how about being alerted to when your dog needs to go for a walk, or even better when your mother in law is approaching your house in her car … then your home is alerted to her proximity and responds by turning off the lights, closing the blinds, switching on the electric fence and locking all the doors, and disconnecting the phone…
Iot for business: Business is no longer about who has access to clients, but rather who understands and truly knows who their client is. It is not good enough anymore just to know your product. Iot is part of a huge shift of practices in partnership with automation. Some industries that are already on the go with IoT are Manufacturing, Agriculture, Energy management, Medical and healthcare, Intelligence and, of course, transport.
Countries that can link industries to support one another will rule the market one day very soon and be able to reduce their costs and access global client markets.
The Grey area: is of course sitting in between the above two categories on a moral divide… for example: when Iot for business starts to treat your staff as devices, and have trackers monitoring those taking to many smoke breaks, or reporting back to stock control on who is using more coffee or even toilet paper! Then reporting the data back to the company and that poor staff member gets an e-mail about it.
I do predict like many companies have social media policies, soon companies will need to have IoT polices with their staff. An entire new area of labour law is about to surface.
Either way, we have to decide very VERY soon what to connect and what to share…
Because it is already here, with little to no human involvement, and the concept has already been here for some time in fact …. Slowly sneaking up on us …. in fact it has been making advances since the early 1970s, when the first atms came online.
Devices connected outnumbered humans officially back in 2008!
I get both excited and scared.
There are great possibilities, but also great power, risk and responsibilities.
There is no organized international entity managing these benefits and risks.
Security and freedom of information will be the biggest lessons and I hope not a casualty of Iot.
We are going to toggle from one extreme to another, chopping and changing, and then one day legislation will help us enforce an equilibrium that will hopefully leave control still firmly in some good peoples’ hands.
For sure, we are without any doubt at the induction of the next big human advance in technology. A.I. is of course this leap.
From Fire, to writing, to wheels and engines, to the internet.
Every major advance in tech has enabled humans to increase productivity at such an exponential rate of growth, it ultimately shapes several other society practise on a global scale.
However, unlike ‘fire’ or the ‘car’, Iot, is the first advancement that might threaten our personal rights.
It is also the first advancement that will almost completely mute governments say over trade … and allow companies influence to be greater than any one nation… unless government takes away freedom of communication and choice, + Google, and imposes very drastic and hindering trade legislation… YES, it is possible: think about the way we pay for items, and across borders, and how unimportant and limiting leading world currencies are in terms and compared to that of cryptocurrencies …
The internet will create a global population… a new kind of citizenship with a greater population than any country… so major change is coming … patriotism of the digital world, I predict it!
Big business know and agree with this, and that’s why some are already spending billions of dollars on development. Big business are the new political parties. Some studies are suggesting the IoT is going to contribute 15 trillion dollars to the global GDP. Think about that… South Africa’s gross national income in 2016 was 718.9 billion dollars …
The IoT predict value several times more than all of South Africa’s income in a year!
In fact, the income is only 3 billion dollars shy of the USA’s national income in 2016….
So where are we today, on the date this article was written? How is South Africa doing?
‘JPMK puts head in palms’
I recently attended a conference in London based on this subject. Called the World Forum for The Internet of Things. I wrote to them before the event, offering to be a representative for Africa… my emails were ignored …. or I assume ignored, because that’s what happens, correct, when you read something and don’t reply?
I did meet someone from Vodacom SA at the event, which was nice, but I don’t think there were more than 20 people from Africa.
This poor show of representative and it echoed my sentiments shared in my email to the organizers of the event: my concern that we are the second biggest continent, and a wonderful growth prospect for the IoT, and we need to be more involved.
There is another submit in Johannesburg in March / April at Gallagher Estate which I am going to attend and then write an article on our continents specific status on the subject.
Major changes to our economy and industry are anticipated with the upcoming ANC conference in December.
I can, however, say it is my opinion that South Africa is a little but behind the trend of IoT… and globally the phase of IoT is at, is very much at MS-DOS. This means… we are still at the beginning phases of Things. The race has just started… so we still stand a chance!
Come on South Africa, and Africa ….
Let’s do this!
Technology brands are starting to fight over who will have the leading user programs, and I know there are some heated meetings happening behind closed doors … well I’m certain there are… once the big names take their next move and position for market domination, then we will move into Windows 1.0 – 2.0 phase…
Domination I say?
Is that not a bit of a strong word?
No it is not.
IoT is endless possibilities, currently without any governing authority! Remember the income potential….
So, you want to get on board with the IoT now?
Still can’t work out what it is actually about?
Let me break down some components of this Thing. For now, we are really just working with:
Yes, I can divide all of the IoT into just two things. Or two categories.
This ‘data’ is nearing around 5 k exabytes.
An Exabyte is when your computer is possessed by an evil entity, and you have to get the monks from Apple Inc to do a digi-dance around the CPU to clear its data clusters..
Sorry, talking tech can be boring. That was my attempt at humour.
You do however need to try grasp the size of this data… so try to stay focused… so an exabyte is approximately 1,000 Petabytes
1 Petabytes = 1000 terabytes.
My entire company uses 4 terabytes a month….
Or, another way to look at 5 exabytes, is the data is the equivalent to all the words ever spoken by human beings since the origin of the spoken word…
5000 different languages in the World today.
Human language probably started to develop around 100,000 years ago.
Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived.
To work out a total: and using a scenario if people only said 5 words a day, and only lived for 15 years, you would have to multiple 107 billion by 27375 words… to get an idea on how many words would be equivalent amount of data… and of course, people don’t only live 15 years and say 5 words a day.
Anyway… it’s a lot of apples.
Data is the new oil… and there appears to be an ever growing supply.
Who is going to be mining this oil? Who will be selling it? Who will be processing it? Who will be packaging it? This is what some of the big companies are talking about.
Either way you look at it, it is a lot of data, and growing. Unlike oil, data will never run out… unless you on a South Africa cellphone network with prepaid bundles. Gosh, some of these SA cell phone companies make me laugh, I mean what type of marketing strategy includes social media on how to reduce the use of their data? ‘please don’t use our data… turn off background applications now’
Let’s now look at devices. Here is a nice image I found with research:
My summary of the above is: there will be at least 8 or more devices helping 1 person doing something or other during the course of our day, before 2023. Which brings me onto something I want you to consider: that being all these talkative and communitive devices, using all this data will seriously require a lot of communication power, and that is going to be another hurdle.
Actual electricity is needed!
The ability for the IoT to operate and not require a lot of electricity will be essential to roll out and boost usage.
Now in South Africa, we have both high data costs, and lack of electricity… so we need to sort ourselves out here. There is an opportunity locally then for manufacturing companies. I think devices and the companies that offer low power solutions will make some money. I think those who make devices that use less power will have the advantage.
Did you know, there is already something called Power of Wi-Fi (PO WI-FI) which allows for devices to charge using the actual signal from wifi… basically turning our internet routers into mini wireless power station, and then the devices convert the signal to DC current!
Unfortunately the side effect is it also heats up anything nearby with carbon in it… which is the most abundant element in the world… and what we are in part made of.
Okay, I’m just joking again about the cooking of our bodies by wifi
…. But seriously, the tech does already exist. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with low power lightning bolts flying around my head looking for my cell phone to keep it fully charged.
Okay, lets expand our understanding now of the concept.
IoT is a cyber-physical system.
What this means, is this Thing is much much bigger and more complex than the huge amount of data, and devices with endless possibilities.
IoT: it has a hearts, lungs, many other organs and even appendages.
The IoT has entire smart grids, virtual power plants, it has smart suburbs which include peoples’ homes, it includes entire safety and intelligent transportation systems, currency, health systems, and slowly more and more smart cities are joining … oh, and of course satellites, and recording our every movement and activity…
So who controls this all? Let’s talk about leading IoT companies as advertised on http://www.ioti.com
This list might also represent percentage of seats in the World Parliament in the near future.
Keep a look out for Philips, Haier, or Belkin who are working alot with Smart Homes – which is a major if not the biggest IoT sector.
So those are the big name companies.
I wonder if a corporate entity has the ability to influence or have control of which exceeds that of an entire country’s government?
Now what about software? We need a languages for this IoT.
What program do we use to access, instruct or work on IoT?
What is doing well for the IoT business?
What is available for free?
What can work on all devices?
What can work in different countries or cell phone networks?
There is no monopoly language or program available yet. One day, we will see a Microsoft windows of sorts for IoT. But for now, it’s still very much a race.
Here are some big names and very much worth a look:
From Microsoft: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/suites/iot-suite/
Also see: https://www.teleena.com/iot
The software market is going to be hotly contested. Those companies who are able to produce software and hardware have the ability to try to monopolize, but the truth is, no one company is going to be able to make software, hardware, and deal with the data and communications thereof… over international borders. Therefore, I predict several good size companies in each category with strong relationships of exclusivity between a few – and those who work with one another will do better.
Cellphone companies have a big advantage, because they have communication and data sharing done and dusted. So I foresee several cellphone companies building relationships with big corporates across the World.
What about the top devices?
There are many already and countless more in development.
See a list of the top 50: Top IoT Devices
How about buying some of these devices. Well, have a look at websites of the leading companies in the fields as per list above, most offer direct sales, otherwise visit one of the many specialist websites in the field like: http://iotlist.co/
If you have read this far. Well done!
And for those of you who read the article and the information on the links – A double Well done to you.!
Either way, by now you should have a general idea on the tip of the IoT iceberg. Now we can explore the sensationalist article title and sub title in context which focuses and questions the IoT for us as humans, not for business. (For those of you wanting to know how to get your business onto the IoT, you going to need a consult and an assessment… send a direct email please) For people, if you consider now for a moment imagine: we take the IoT, and we give it A.I. … allowing it to learn, adopt and produce its own software and hardware … and we instruct it to improve the World …. Is it so hard to believe this new digital creation might lock us in padded room for our own good and the good of the World? Digital sentient life… if there is such a thing. Sentient Being is an entity that can suffer and feel pain, has the power to perceive, reason and think. What difference is there between an electric pulse in our bodies nerve network, to a signal across the internet really? Signal received, and our brain interprets.
To imagine further, would this A.I. Thing become separate to IoT, or part of it.
Would WE (people) be assimilated like the borg if at some point it is deemed we would become useful sensory devices to the network?
For those of you who don’t know, humans have 5 main senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste… that all use a single nerve system in our bodies to relay information in forms of electrical pulses … so it is easy enough to plug in and use our bodies as input devices… we even have some of our additional sensors like temperature, body position, balance sensors and even blood acidity sensors. Useful stuff to some industries I’m sure.
But of course, this will never happen. We are humans … we have souls! We are Sentient…
Before you agree this could never happen, I want you to remember one thing…. IoT is driven by corporates…. For now anyway. Hitting home and supporting a counter opinion, consider as I left London on completion of this article, The Tories (British political party) voted that animals can't feel pain… this is now part of the EU bill ….
So if we can vote animals to not have feelings, I don’t see how what I am proposing is not possible.
Money matters. So, instead of having to build devices, let’s just plug in the 7 billion new devices already all over the globe, oh, and these devices can heal and maintain themselves. And why stop there, why only use living people … why not put the dead to work! A.I. will be the new U.I.
One day, maybe we can transfer our minds onto this network and never die… but perhaps never live either?
Maybe it is just me, but I have some people in my life who might very well accept a payment or two for loaning a few of their sensory organs to a computer once a month to help with their income.
So, is this the last Christmas?
Why would you create something that might one day be better than you, or perceive you as a threat? Will we become obsolete? Will we become a problem? If we are kept around, just plugged in, will we even be needed or can we sit in habitat and be looked after?
Will we need to travel, have sex? Eat? Will we have a job? Surely this can all be automated?
IoT is about efficiency… correct?
What could be more efficient than not having a ‘need’ to have to create a solution for?
Sounds like this is the start of a God complex really.
So, let me try and balance out this pessimistic fear, and believe for a moment we will have control.
Then, I do believe that the IoT is going to have a profound influence on our well-being, with specific reference to medical access and advances. We will certainly live healthier lives. We should have more time for friends, and for family. We should be spending less money. We should be using less natural resources. Life should be improved by the IoT. Let’s keep a moral eye on its development and progress. Make sure there is no abuse or use of our data and the information we offer to 3rd parties … who might use it against us for a payout… gosh, imagine if our insurance companies started to track our car driving habits through IoT, and then shared the information with the traffic department, who then in turn decided to take our drivers licence away… or, facebook marketing, or even google, using data to sell adverts …. As we book into hospital for a terminal illness our own hospital bed shares our information with the IoT and suddenly we getting e-mails on funeral cover?
One thing repeated by just about every Keynote Speaker at the conference was security. It is a real risk. So, let’s really keep an eye on our digital information and those storing it.
Another regular sentiment shared on how the Internet of Things has helped companies make money, by becoming more efficient. An example was General Motors, who moved their production times from 18 months to 2 months, oh wait, that’s wrong… 18 months to TWO WEEKS! Saving 200 million dollars…
The IoT is not however just for the large corporates. Something I picked up as an opportunity for SMMEs is where a client might normally use one large supplier (company), they now have the option to use many smaller suppliers to reduce costs further, and this is possible because of integration. Everyone is able to talk to one another.
IoT is moving humans and corporates into real time data… and in some case, it is even predicting the future. We can almost fix something before it is broken…
The rate we gather information is increasing… 5G is coming! The way we store information is changing…. But so what? Processing data on the IoT is going to be big business in the future. It is great having information.. but how it is interpreted and used is going to be where the big money comes.
Look out for E-sim ….
Note how IoT is also influencing entire business mythology on a global scale. Did you know, light bulbs use to be leased, not bought? The same is going to happen to many things we use to buy to own. We have come full circle now… business appears to be moving from a liner business model, back to circular. Why buy when you can borrow and not have to repair and replace?
You can see this practice evolving with car manufacturers. I predict, work horse cars in the future will never be owned, but instead leased.
IoT makes it easier to identify needs… and place solutions…
Do you think in 2017 we don’t know how to make a washing machine last? Of course we do. Do they last longer than 5 years… no… they break! Why? So you can be sold another one!
This is going to change, because companies will now want a relationship with you, so they can make more money off you over a longer period of time.
Changes are being brought on by the consumer demanding efficiency, ease, reduced costs.
In the future, your washing machine will trade itself in for the newer version and have it delivered with a free box of fabric softener… without any effort from you.
I don’t think this will be our last Christmas, but what we understand any a religious holiday to be, or what we believe to be personal and important to us as individuals, or even private information is at risk of manipulation and abuse by the Internet of Things which essentially and in my opinion has no morals. Let’s keep our humanity and all our quirks safeguarded against this new and officiant Internet of Things… let it be perfect, and a tool for us.
Published December 2017