"With a trillion sensors embedded in the environment - all connected by computing systems, software and services - it will be possible to hear the heartbeat of the earth, impacting human interaction with the globe as profoundly as the internet has revolutionized communications."
Although Hartwell's statement may initially appear to be drowning in hyperbole, we may one day look back at his words as being precisely accurate.
In addition to earning its place as an industry megatrend, the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to change the way in which we live more dramatically than most people can imagine, even in their wildest dreams. From fully-autonomous, self-driving cars to real-time communications between objects and machines throughout our public spaces, the potential scope of this technology's reach feels more like science fiction than our not-too-distant reality. But the Internet of Things is coming to the mainstream in incremental steps, and it's expected to radically alter almost everything we do in our daily lives over time.
IoT is one of the hottest tech tickets right now, and the current developments may eventually change our world in ways that even the most seasoned experts can't yet predict. We are on the cusp of a monumental new wave of disruption across a vast number of industries, with many of the world's greatest innovators working on concepts that are likely to reshape our society profoundly. Do you think today's children will one day learn to drive as their parents did? Probably not. Will the majority of today's jobs be significantly different, or non-existent, in the next ten years? Most definitely.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. An increasing number of people are now embracing smart home devices, while tech companies are rapidly expanding and improving their offerings. Wearables are being used by consumers for a range of purposes, including devices intended to help people live more "mindfully" by increasing their awareness of how well they sleep, their level of exercise, and much more. But the IoT category that may prove to be the most significant of all could be M2M (Machine to Machine) devices, technology that is directly connected to the cellular network, such as vehicles that are able to report their location in the event of an accident or theft, or vending machines that can automatically manage their own stock of goods when they're running low.
While the proliferation and evolution of IoT certainly raises many concerns, the probable benefits are pervasive and monumental, carrying the potential to improve our lives in extraordinary ways.
However, as is the case with all tremendous technological advances, putting development in the wrong hands can lead to catastrophic results. Conversely, following strategies based on the correct combination of expertise, experience and ingenuity will provide the perfect canvas.