What’s Next for Intelligent Things?

By Len WegnerNovember 22, 2016

The dramatic proliferation of devices with enablers for web connectivity is transforming today’s world into a network of smart devices that are more intelligent, responsive, and interactive than they have ever been.  

These new age smart devices uphold and strengthen their aptitude, as we talk, in reconstructing the “Internet of Things” into a gigantic network of unprecedented scale and capacity. Today, these smart connected devices leverage an array of intelligent “things” — sensors and devices — that can slide into a shoe, a garment or a watch, and can also control the lights, temperature, and appliances of an apartment from a remote location.

While the consumer landscape is currently the most common testing ground for these devices, the implications of intelligent things run even deeper for enterprise use cases. Take for instance, the smart industrial helmet, which in the case of an emergency, initiates life-saving applications, triggers the alarm, and shares GPS coordinates by recognizing the differences in motion, forces, and impacts.

However, the broad potential of intelligent things is yet to be fully realized. It can't be totally unleashed unless there's a universal platform for cooperative action in terms of privacy, security, and interoperability models. Mike Dennison, president of the Consumer Technologies Group at global design, engineering, and manufacturing company Flextronics, believes “A lot of people are connected to things, things that are connected to the cloud, the Internet of Things, if you will. But they’re not adding any value to that connection. The intelligence of Things goes a step further and really becomes the way you interact, what changes you make as a person because it is intelligent. It is giving you real feedback, real information about what you should be doing or not doing.”

Primary Reasons Driving the Rise of Intelligent Things

Shifts in consumer expectations

Consumers are fascinated with technology that applies connectivity and machine learning to trace and analyze their everyday actions. Today's end-users are ready to let applications and devices track their conversations, locations, spending, and other habits for a smooth experience that can't be accomplished otherwise, in order to enjoy better and more fulfilling encounters.

Emergence of ambient intelligence

Ambient intelligent devices detect a user’s movement, presence, and behavior, scrutinize that data to learn more the consumer's habit, and then make intelligent decisions or perform assignments on the basis of the collected data. Google Now, for instance, combines data from a user’s web searches, calendar, and location to display appropriate suggestions and information all through the day. It is like a personal assistant that analyzes data based on specific preferences to make life easier and more productive.

Decreased cost of innovation

Just a couple of years ago, the components required in manufacturing smart connected devices were extremely expensive. However, the dawn of smartphone era has paved way for increased production and availability of similar components that are deployed in Intelligent Things, enabling manufacturers to produce connected devices of varying quality and specifications at attractive price points.

According to a report published by Goldman Sachs, sensor costs in the last decade have dipped drastically from an aggregate of $1.30 to 60 cents approximately. In the coming years, cheaper GPS chips will make Intelligent Things more affordable in adding value to practically anything, including human bodies.

With such terrific potentials and positive year-on-year growth, intelligent devices and apps will be as important as the cloud has been for the last 10 years.