Expert Opinion | Jeremy White of Wired Magazine predicts the future of IoT

E. Purcell Author: Jeremy White, Wired Magazine

The advance of Internet of Things will generate impressive market value, this is certain. Just how much, though, is open to debate, as, depending on what analyst report you consult, IoT may be worth $883.55 billion by 2022 or $724.2 billion by 2023, with, possibly, Asia Pacific being the biggest market. 

What we are definitely already seeing, however, is the transition from this initial consumer-focused stage of IoT to a phase that includes industrialized IoT. Away from the almost laughable internet connected toilets, kettles and fridges to real-world, business application. Machine-to-machine and machine-to-object communications allow companies such a Mitie, Yoox and Rolls-Royce to manage stock and predict malfunctions before they occur, thus saving significant sums of money and improving customer experience, generating value for enterprises in the form of increases in production and efficiency. The health and sports industries are also realising the benefits of connected technology, with significant trials from Philips and McLaren Applied Technologies taking place.

Investment in Industrial IoT companies hit nearly $4 billion last year, while in the consumer sector more advanced products are emerging that signal the second stage of wearable technology. Google has partnered with Levi’s, for example, to produce the Commuter jacket where the digital circuitry is woven into the sleeve of the garment turning the jacket itself into the touchscreen – and what’s more it is washable. 

Big business is also heavily investing in forms of mixed and augmented reality, seeing obvious applications not only in the consumer markets but also in industry, including architectural design, employee training, education. Magic Leap, a Florida startup so secretive no one has seen its working technology in pubic yet, has garnered $1.5 billion in investment from the like of Google, Warner Bros, Alibaba and Qualcomm.

Of course, much of this innovation is being driven by the staggering advancements in artificial intelligence occurring right now. Since 1993 we have seen a one million times increase in computing power, and this has aided the rise of machine learning. The forefront of AI can be see in visual and audio learning everyday as we interact with our increasingly sophisticated mobile assistant helpers and observe companies such as Imagenet and Facebook teach neural networks of computers not only how to identify tens of thousands of categories of objects but also crucially apply contextual meaning. 

The rate of advancement in AI and machine learning is gathering such pace that while previously many predicted human-level AI would be created by the 2050s, we could in fact reach this level well before that decade. In short, in our lifetime we will likely be interacting with proper, adult AI and reap the benefits of predictive health care that will tell us to go see the doctor *before* we get ill. Business will be utterly transformed in the process, much in the same way as when the internet became first commercially available. And the opportunities to be had by those ready for such a dramatic shift are immense. 

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