Your alarm wakes you up at 6 a.m. and then notifies your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you. On your way to work your car advises you on the best route to avoid congestion. It can also send a text to your boss that you will be late. Your office at work has the ability to automatically order supplies when they run low so when you get to work, there is no need for stock taking and calls for stationery. Now stop imagining and accept that this is your future courtesy of the Internet of Things (this is Forbes’ Jacob Morgan's genius take on the internet of things).
According to Gartner, there are already around 8.4 billion connected things in use worldwide in 2017 and by 2020, that number is expected to have reached 20.4 billion. It is believed that the Internet of Things will have reached mainstream adoption in Africa in the next two to five years. Basically, in 2018, the countdown begins! Africa will be connected. In fact, Liquid Telecom says though it may be early days, an Internet of Things ecosystem is already emerging across Africa and transforming businesses. The expectation is that in Africa, the Internet of Things will “radically improve agricultural outputs, increase efficiencies at understaffed and overworked hospitals, and help reduce the enormous number of people dying on African roads in traffic accidents”. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The internet of things has the potential to start a lifestyle revolution, all on its own. By 2020, Internet of Things market opportunities are poised to reach $1.8 billion from $837.9 million in 2016. Are you paying attention now?
What is IoT?
Forbes gives a simple definition of IoT saying it “is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the internet. This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost everything else you can think of.” This would also apply to components of machines like engines. What the internet of things creates is a network of connected “things”, thus the name, and in such an environment, relationships are between people and people, people and things, as well as things and things.
The first reason is largely technical: the volumes of data generated and collected will be used by businesses and consumers to provide insight and intelligence that saves money and drives efficiency.
The second reason is simply: because we desperately need to connect. As already stated, connections in hospitals and on roads will helps save lives, and just as well, connections in Africa’s game reserves will help reduce poaching.