- Materials & Industrial Technology
The Internet of Things: Three Future Non-Web Uses for the Internet
Perhaps the greatest contemporary invention, the internet has revolutionised our lives personally and professionally, and for many it is hard to imagine life without it. Beginning with a vision to create interconnected computer networks in order to access data, the internet has, for the majority of its existence, been inexorably linked to the web, to the extent that the two terms are often used interchangeably.
The web, of course, is a separate entity undergoing its own technological (and sociological) advances, and as technology develops, the internet is also moving in many unique and interesting directions. The future of the internet is automation, connecting everything from household objects to food through the Internet of Things (IoT).
While these innovations sometimes feel like sci-fi, the truth is stranger than fiction, and the Internet of Things is set to take on a huge role in our digitally reliant future that extends beyond the web. Here are three amazing, futuristic uses for IoT that are set to happen - not just in the hazy, distant future - but within the next 10 years.
1. Stay connected - through your clothing
The idea of clothing being connected to the internet is not so much a product of science-fiction, but sounds more like the ramblings of a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy nut. Smart clothes, however, are a very real proposition.
Fortunately, the idea extends beyond the concept of browsing Facebook through your t-shirt, with smart clothes having numerous functions and uses, including changing colour, regulating your temperature, and even charging your mobile devices. Expect this level of garment-gadgetry by 2023.
2. Increased automation in the home
While the previously discussed link between the internet and the web is currently synonymous, this is not likely to be the case by 2025. Due to the increase in household automation, it is estimated that over 50% of the internet traffic in your home will be for household appliances and devices.
The rise of home automation has already begun, with numerous smart home devices already on the market. Expect that to continue in the future, with the rise of automation through IoT leading to a fully smart home, with all household appliances and devices run through the internet.
3. Self-driving cars
Self-driving cars are the ultimate sci-fi fantasy (well, after hover cars) and Google have been working on automated cars since 2009. Indeed, while the technology is available, self-driving cars are essentially being held up by red tape, such as licensing and insurance issues.
Within the next 10 years, you can expect 10% of cars on US roads to be driverless, while complete automation is predicted to occur by 2038. Other predictions suggest that within 10 years, driverless systems will already be obsolete, with people instead driving in automated pods.
These pods will be stripped of wheels, instead running on magnetic levitation, with users controlling their ultra-modern transport system through their phone. Now that is a true sci-fi fantasy.