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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Now when you hear the word Internet today, do you think of computers and Ethernet cables and all that? Or do the Facebooks, eBays, and LinkedIns come to your mind? A few years back, it was the former, but today it’s the latter. Clearly the Internet has undergone an enormous transformation, from being technology driven to being market and opportunity driven. So the decoupling of underlying connectivity technologies from the wonderful applications able to run on top of it have been a painful but really instrumental shift in unlocking what is now often referred as the digital or the third industrial revolution. But it gets even better.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds We’re here today to prepare you for the fourth industrial revolution, also known as the Internet of Things, the IoT. It is a world of universally connected objects, things, and processes, a world which creates a digital aura of you and your surroundings, in real time and context aware, to give you the best possible living experience. Imagine your office of the future. It identifies you and downloads your working preferences from a secure cloud infrastructure to give you the best possible working comfort. It uses sensors to determine a temperature, humidity, light, and noise, and automatically adapts heating and ventilation according to your preferences.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds Using bio sensors you’re wearing, or sensors on your smartphone, it detects levels of stress, and may decide to adapt the music or even rearrange the office furniture. It taps into weather and pollution sensors outside your office and gives you recommendations on the perfect time to leave your office. It is a world where we will see unprecedented opportunities being serviced, using an IoT connectivity infrastructure which will become entirely invisible. That would be in 2020– maybe. As of today, however, we’ve still got some work to do, and you will learn here what exactly needs to be done, and what can be done by you.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds General Electric did an interesting market study recently, and established that if various industries used sensors to obtain real-time data from the industry processes, and they used these insights to improve efficiencies by 1%, then the financial gains and savings would go into the billions of dollars. That’s right– that’s billion with a B. They called it the power of 1%, and the Internet of Things in such industrial settings, the industrial Internet. Market evidence seems to suggest that we can actually do much better than 1%, given all the real-time sensing data. The sky is this limit, and industries slowly start to comprehend the meaning of revolution in the fourth industrial revolution.

Skip to 3 minutes and 25 seconds Cisco, another industry giant, also did an interesting market study, and figured that if we start to connect computers, sensors, mobile phones– basically everything– we will create enormous opportunities to industries and consumers alike. For your records, they called this Uber-Internet the Internet of Everything. Now market analysts have become very excited by the IoT opportunities laid out by the large industries. Or maybe the industries have become excited by the opportunities laid out by the analysts? Anyway, we’ll never find out, really. But what we do know is that there will be a lot of things connected to the Internet over the coming years. We just cannot quite agree how many, and by when exactly.

Skip to 4 minutes and 17 seconds Let’s try to get a feel for today’s IoT penetration ourselves. How many sensors have you seen in recent weeks? Likely close to none. So yes, the number of sensors deployed today is well below 1 billion, more likely in the hundreds of millions, maybe. However, if you start counting things in general– including laptops, mobile phones, et cetera– you realise quickly that with about 6 billion people on this planet, we certainly have an Internet of Things composed of maybe 10 billion things. If you consider that each smartphone has about 10 to 15 sensors– understanding that not every phone is a smartphone– suddenly, our Internet of Things today expands to maybe 30 billion things.

Skip to 5 minutes and 3 seconds Today, with more and more phones going smart, and the number of deployed sensors doubling about every 18 months or so, we’re entering a high growth phase. Expect this Internet of Things to become big– really, really big. Despite the enormous opportunities and rosy predictions, it is, at this point, instrumental to understand the threats of the IoT, and we will deal with them throughout this course. There’s a real threat that we may need to wait another decade for the IoT opportunity to emerge– unless, of course, we reboot some of our efforts and think the entire design approach from zero.

Skip to 5 minutes and 45 seconds Indeed, what is urgently needed here is this transformation, from seeing the IoT being underpinned by sensors and actuators and wireless radios, to an IoT which is underpinning opportunities– the Facebooks or LinkedIns of things, or whatever you will come up with after the completion of this course.

The Internet of Things – this has been a long journey

Here, Mischa discusses how the Internet of Things has evolved, and introduces some of the opportunities it offers and predictions for the future. Mischa will share more of his technology connectivity experience in Week 2.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Internet of Things

King's College London