Humans and Data
Why is it that homo sapiens are so much more advanced than other human species? Simple — because we are smarter than all other mammals, right? Well as it would turn out, Homo Erectus was not only smarter, but faster and stronger than us humans by a massive margin. The real reason why we are so dominate today is because our capacity to effectively collaborate. As Yuval Noah Harari put it in his book Homo Deus, there’s no way that we would have been able to colonize earth, invent public institutions or send people to space had we not been able to communicate in the way that we do.
Society is undergoing huge strides in development as our world continues to drift towards digital. With the mass normalization of mobile devices, 57% of the world is now connected to the internet. Because of this, our global community is growing colossally, with an average of 640,000 people joining the internet for the first time every day.
As a result, data collection is becoming increasingly prevalent and important in our day to day transactions. The information is allowing for enhanced drug treatments, monumentally more effective cybersecurity methods and emerging technologies all to be discovered.
This article aims to broaden your knowledge about an exponential technology that is laying the path for the future of data collection and processing: the Internet of Things (IoT).
The future of data collection
IoT is one of the exponential technologies defining the 4th industrial revolution, alongside Artificial Intelligence and Big data. Through employing sensors, back end servers, networking and embedded systems (don’t worry, we’ll cover that later), the technology connects physical objects to the internet, allowing them to sense and interact with the world around them.
How is this beneficial, you ask? Connected objects can send and receive information from the vast hub of information known as the internet. With IoT, physical objects can access all the immense memory of super storages and the game-changing discoveries of supercomputers remotely to aid the user in accomplishing a task.
In terms of actual hardware, the Internet of Things uses embedded systems and sensors to track any given form of real-time data. That data is then sent to a cloud server via network infrastructure such as cellular, satellite, WiFi, Bluetooth, LPWAN and Ethernet. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to bandwidth, power consumption and range. Upon being uploaded to the cloud, data processing is performed on that information to interact and make use of the recorded sensor data. This could be anything from ensuring that the temperature is within an acceptable range for a quantum computer, to deploying a convolutional neural network to identify an object. Finally, information is passed to the end-user through the form of a user interface.
Applications of IoT today
Today, the biggest area of innovation with IoT taking place in the smart home revolution. Companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple are pairing up Natural Language Processing technology and IoT to create personal assistants for people in their daily lives. According to DZone, the number of people searching for smart homes increases by 60,000 every month. Additionally, the estimated amount of funding for smart home startups exceeds $2.5 billion!
IoT is also redefining wearables. Using various sensors, watches can now track and communicate your sleeping habits, heart rate and minutes of activity each day. The technology is constantly improving — with big players such as Fossil, Apple and Fitbit revolutionizing the smartwatch.
Another huge application for IoT cities. Cities globally are now utilizing IoT to monitor and act on water distribution, traffic & waste management and environmental monitoring. Some cities are even using IoT to closely monitor the consummation of electric grids to prevent the usage of any unnecessary electricity. In this fashion, people pay reduce electricity bills — all while saving the environment.
IoT is an exponential technology paving the path for the future of data collection and processing. It connects physical objects to the internet and gives them access to virtually unlimited information — allowing the piece of “hardware” to accomplish previously unprecedented tasks. It is done through collecting sensor data, uploading that information to the cloud via internet infrastructure, performing data processing and sending information to the end-user on a user interface. The technology is disrupting data as we know it — leaving no industry untouched.