There is going to be a lot of buzz around the Internet of Things this year, with smart Things and Chatbots taking center stage.
Edge computing will enable better device monitoring, giving Things a chance to enter the healthcare arena. And augmented dynamic games will marry the artificial world to the physical world.
Here are my predictions for 2017:
Things have Changed
“Smart Things” have their own needs - drones need landing areas and docking stations for recharging, robots require their own elevators - and architects will realize that buildings have to accommodate them. Once they fully understand the implications we will see substantial changes to the layouts of buildings. Form follows function, becomes form, and follows digital functions. Architects will turn to hardware and software vendors to gain a better understanding.
The Year of the Chatbot
Artificial Intelligence capabilities are moving fast and chat engines will not only answer requests, but will engage conversation in your language of choice, withstanding the Turing test for a minute or longer. Banks, retailers and other industries will use this to facilitate omni-channel as AI Chatbot engines become part of the interaction in every channel, driving and enhancing the customer experience. Support organizations will embrace Chatbots to solve simple service requests in a cost-effective way.
Living on the Edge
The transition to Edge Computing begins in earnest as organizations move critical analytics off of the cloud and closer to devices. In remote areas, or in smart factories with lots of IoT-enabled devices, the dependency on the analytics is so critical that even short disconnects to the Internet can be disastrous. Moving part of the IoT stack from the cloud onto gateways will be the way forward.
Brush your Teeth
Insurance companies will start monitoring their customers’ smart devices where the end behavior might influence the price of the insurance premium. Devices such as connected toothbrushes can initiate healthier habits through direct feedback, saving on your insurance bills. Smart home devices will report whether your home is locked securely at night; if not, your premium might rise. Insurance is a prime example where more and more companies feel confident enough to explore new business models: pay-per-use, pay-per-insight and pay-for-features will be gaining mindshare.
Like the 1966 sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage, where a submarine with a small crew is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of a dying man, we will see more and more experiments where IoT is entering the body. Medical IoT implants can manage pain, or even decode signals from the brain and relay them to other parts of the body possibly curing paralysis.
Pokemon Go Further
Pokemon Go was a big hit in 2016 and next year we will see more augmented games hitting the market. Future games will embrace dynamic locations, and smart objects will be able to alter the interaction with your game directly. Surroundings will become more responsive and interactive, laying the artificial world on top of the physical world.
In 2017, the principal benefit in IoT will not be in cost savings (although there are cost savings to be had), but rather in how smart we make our Things. These innovative smart Things will be the foundation for crafting new products and services to make our lives easier and more efficient.