By Deon Liebenberg, Managing Executive: Internet of Things, Vodacom
It’s been a long day at the office; so long in fact that you’re in dire need of a change of scenery, one that will bring about calm and relaxation. The next best thing to being on a beach is to ask Alexa to bring it to you, in the comfort of your lounge.
Thanks to your smart home, everything from beach-toned lighting to a cool summery breeze and the sound of waves hitting the shoreline awaits your arrival.
The global adoption of sensor-embedded technological advancements has propelled the Internet of Things far beyond the mere connection of “things”; we’ve seen this phenomenon evolve into ecosystems, with our habits and routines at the helm of the controls.
One could argue that the success of IoT is driven by the solutions it provides to the challenges we, as people, are faced with. These challenges range from knowing where our loved ones are, managing our utilities to the basic task of commuting from one place to the next without getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
In an effort to address these challenges, IoT is on a mission to add to the repertoire of connected devices, all for the purpose of connecting us to a smarter way of life.
We’ve only just begun to tap into the full potential of the Internet of Things, in fact, 2018 will see the rise of the IoT platform. It’s time for the evolution of IoT; namely collecting, analysing and acting on data, to undergo the next step in its evolutionary cycle.
Think of it this way; you have an AI assistant on your smartphone that knows that you’re about to go on your morning jog. It automatically plays your favourite playlist to ensure that you get the most out of your run. You go to the mall and seconds after you park, your smartphone notifies you of a special that’s currently running at your most frequently-visited retailer.
Your stomach starts grumbling and, once again, your smartphone instinctively sends you a notification of the lunch menu at your favourite coffee shop which just so happens to be metres away from you. A welcoming reminder of the world of data collection that we have come to inhabit.
If it wasn’t for the information that’s constantly being fed to our smartphones, through geo location sensors, our online menu searches and the posts and ads that we like on Facebook, then our devices wouldn’t have any data to base any of these suggestions on.
Once a device is connected to the internet, it can collect data based on our usage habits, searches and interactions. That data is then sent to the cloud where it is analysed. The purpose of this analysis stage is to drive devices to act or react by transmitting data over multiple types of wireless or fixed networks (such as the Vodacom network) where it is translated into meaningful information which can be augmented with external data sources.
2018 will be an exciting year for IoT. We can expect more content to be produced and developed for the South African market. We’ll see more and more connected devices that will transmit data which is tailored for our market. More and more things will be integrated into AI systems, such as Alexa – allowing us to connect to so much more than we could ever have imagined, through an ecosystem of connected devices that are adapted to address our personal requirements.
The adoption of IoT in South Africa is steadily gathering speed, and with the introduction of Vodacom’s Narrowband IoT networks, South Africans will begin to see the benefits of the Internet of Things at both a consumer and at a business level.