MANAGEMENT gurus are always discovering the next big thing (and source of income). Last year it was emerging markets and “frugal innovation”. This year it is “the internet of things”, or, as it has rapidly become “the internet of everything”.
Over the past decade billions of people have hooked themselves up to the internet via the computer and, more recently, mobile devices. This communication revolution is now extending to objects as well as people. Imagine if all the objects in the world had all the information that they needed to function optimally. Buildings would adjust themselves according to the temperature. Ovens would cook things for exactly the right time. The handles of umbrellas would glow when it was about to rain. We long ago inserted “intelligence” into objects in the form of thermostats and the like; the internet of everything will extend this principle exponentially, giving us unprecedented control over the objects that surround us.
The internet of everything will help solve two of the biggest problems facing the world: energy and health care. Buildings currently waste more energy than they use effectively. We will be able to cut this waste down to almost nothing. Health care is currently delivered in lumps: we visit the doctor a couple of times a year at most, and get our blood pressure checked every now and again. The internet of everything will allow us to monitor our bodily functionings all the time. A few sensors discreetly attached to the body will keep you constantly informed about how your vital functions are doing. It will also help us to keep ourselves healthy. Pill bottles will tell us when to take our medicines; wine glasses will be able to tell us when we have had enough to drink; sugar bowls will warn us about our sugar intake
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