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Internet of Things: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

September 12, 2019 | Information & Technology

Since the 18th century, world economy has undergone major transformations, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Erupting in England, the first industrial revolution heralded a new era which led to fundamental changes in the traditional manufacturing and production processes. The economy metamorphosed from agriculture-based to factory-based and the winds of industrialization rapidly swayed the rest of Europe.


Thereafter, technological developments characterized the changes in the European and American socio-economic structures well into the 21st century. Today, the world is experiencing “the fourth industrial revolution”, the eponymous title of a groundbreaking book written by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. This version of the industrial revolution is driven by rising application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the form of Internet of Things (IoT).


The 21st Century Technology Odyssey


Imagine this: You get up in the morning after switching off the alarm on your phone, triggering the water heater in the bathroom to heat up the water to your desired temperature. You put clothes in the washing machine, it automatically detects the quantity of clothes, and proportionately uses the washing powder and water.


You lock the house and leave for work and the car warms itself up, since the lock and the car are connected.  You suddenly realize that you have forgotten to switch of all the appliances (except the refrigerator, obviously), but then it strikes you that the appliances would have gotten switched off automatically the moment you locked the door. 


This is the magic of the IoT. Thus, the Internet of Things (IoT) can be understood as a fusing of digital and physical worlds wherein any device can be connected to the internet and to other devices. The extraordinary number of areas where IoT can be utilized is nothing short of a scientific marvel. From wearable fitness devices to driverless cars, IoT has become a ubiquitous entity in the world of technology.


The Race for a Place in the Virtual World


The advent of AI and IoT has had a disruptive effect on the economic fabric of the world. Like evergreen trees engaged in a growth race to catch whatever sunlight they can get, companies have been forced to innovate to maintain their presence amidst fierce competition. Competition and adversity are two of the greatest motivating factors that can propel one to invent and/or innovate. IoT has created the same ripple effect across industries.


At the AI World Event held in Boston in 2018, public and private sector organizations enthused over their strengthening conviction and commitment towards advancing AI tools and machine learning through greater investments in the technology. However, the real shot in the arm was given by the White House in 2019 when it announced the launch of its AI.GOV with the aim of bringing all of the US government’s initiatives on one common platform.


Private Sector at the Fore


The government efforts notwithstanding, it is the attempts made by the private sector to sophisticate the technology that will enrich the world of IoT. Let’s take the example of Google. The company announced the much-awaited Google Home Hub in late 2018. It was rebranded, redesigned, and relaunched as the Google Nest Hub.


The technology is essentially a 7-inch smart display device that has the Google Assistant in-built. Its aim to ensure a smooth interconnectivity of all home appliances such as TV, refrigerator, microwave, et al. More importantly, the device only cost $59, which makes it affordable for the average income earner. Even in India, it costs roughly ₹10,000, which is not much, given the rising incomes of Indian households.


Similar efforts are being made by other technology giants such as Samsung and Vodafone. Both companies are making heavy investments in the 5G technology, with Samsung having launched 5G enabled high-end phones. Vodafone, too, has recently rolled out 5G services in countries such as Ireland. These advancements go hand-in-hand as 5G technology, with its exceptional speeds, is expected to complement and augment IoT capabilities.


The Future Lies with IoT


Economists and other technology aficionados are viewing the Internet of Things as the nucleus of the industrial atom. The future of the human race lies in the invisible and the complex web of interconnected networks. Smart devices have become game-changers and IoT is the lovechild of human creativity and AI. As companies infuse more and more of their investment energies into research and development, IoT will soon dictate every aspect of our lives. How much of a boon and how much of a bane it will be remains to be seen?      


About the Author


Name: Shantanu Ayachit


Shantanu Ayachit is part of a talented team of content writers working in Fortune Business Insights, one of the most promising market research firms in the industry. He has experience in developing quality content and is currently involved in writing articles, press releases, and blogs for the company. He is highly motivated and enjoys putting ideas and thoughts into words to enable the reader to experience a seamless perusal.

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