Everything is getting smarter. My fridge knows when I’m out of milk and at the other end of the spectrum, there’s an automated system in place so the cows know they need to up production. Even my kids think they know what they’re getting for Christmas (although, they’re wrong).
It’s not just the fridges and farms that are getting smarter. The fact is technology is making objects in every aspect of our lives more intuitive and intelligent. The growth in the internet of things (IoT) and machine learning has been exponential and that only looks set to continue. But what does this mean for the year ahead and how will the inanimate objects we engage with on a daily basis continue to inform and change the way we behave?
1. Smart Automotive
In 2018 a tyre will no longer be just a tyre – it will have sensors embedded that can talk wirelessly to a telemetry box and thus to the cloud. It will be a source of big data analytics. For example, apps will be able to provide intelligence to fleet management companies that can tell if the pressure needs adjusting to save money, if the driver is driving dangerously or if the tyre needs replacing.
2. Smart Services
We will see start to see more things sold as-a-service, like rubbish collection, because we can track usage through IoT. Maybe we’ll start seeing services-as-a-service, like teachers or the police as the start of no one having a fixed job and everyone and everything being grouped en masse in an AirBnB-style platform.
3. Smart Cities
We’ll begin to hear about smart cities with self-driving rubbish collection vehicles that only pick up when smart rubbish bins tell them to. Bristol is already heading in this direction.
4. Smart Home
We’ll see the first IoT-enabled pest control solution for the Smart Home. We’ll also see the first robotic IoT-enabled vacuums released that have cameras and are connected to identify Lego and store it to prevent it being stood on.
5. Smart Space Travel
Admittedly, this isn’t ‘everyday,’ but we’re going to see it happen in 2018. We’ll hear more about how IoT networks and software platforms are going to lower the cost and ease the complexity of space travel. Nasa’s Orion vehicle is an example.
6. Smart Healthcare
The first mass-market sensor-enabled swallowable pill will be released that can detect and transmit key dietary health information on its journey through the gut.
In the UK, we’ll begin to see the same kind of IOT-enabled hospitals that firms, such as Cerner are delivering in the US. It has been found to reduce costs, manage complexity, and is enabled with the locations of clinicians. So it can map the right clinician to the right crisis and thus save lives and optimise resources – great for a struggling NHS
7. Smart Retail
We’ll see amazing results from bricks and mortar retailers as we realise that IoT in the real/augmented world is a great differentiator against virtual only competitors, such as Amazon. Having real stores matters — as long as they are IoT enabled.
8. Smart Testing
A number of crises and ethical dilemmas will make governments realise that IoT systems need a whole new standard of certification – using a whole new AI-powered test technology.
9. Smart Finance
In financial services, 30-year-old systems with digital offerings stuck on top is not ideal. Banks are trying to do things with an old infrastructure. All the banks and traditional retailers are not going to be able to keep moving their old infrastructures into the digital world. They’re going to be overtaken by digital companies if they want to stand a chance.
Of course, we’re unlikely to see all of this happen in its entirety. But it is the ever-evolving, updating and improving technology that is the basis for everything becoming smart in the first place.
John Bates is the chief executive of the software firm Testplant. He is also the author of “Thingalytics: Smart Big Data Analytics for the Internet of Things.”