I have been talking about IOT (Internet of things) a lot off-late.. Each time I talk about it and watch people’s eyes lighting up with the kind of possibilities it has in store for our future, the feeling is unparalleled. Internet of things indeed is the future. The speed at which fourth industrial revolution is evolving is unprecedented. Entire systems of production, management and governance are being overhauled by this change. We are on the verge of experiencing industry 4.0. IOT is the single phenomenon that’s changing the way we see the world today.
But before we proceed ahead and actually brand the advent of Internet of Things or IOT as the fourth industrial revolution, let’s see how it became one. The German government, in an effort to prepare the country for future launched a program called Manufacturing 4.0 which is where they defined four stages of manufacturing: Mechanization, production, computers & automation and finally cyber physical systems that use internet of the things and cloud. Hence all the companies, currently deploying IOT need to focus on the last stage.
IOT: Challenge and opportunities
Each time the world revolutionized the way it did business, the lifestyles improved, and fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0 is no exception. Internet of things is all about ease of life. It will lead to gains in efficiency and productivity. However, at the same time the economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee warn that this revolution could also result in inequality. The automation could disrupt the labor market.
How IOT revolution will impact businesses
Today the accelerated velocity of innovation and disruption caused by it is such that it’s a source of constant surprise. Although still in their development stage the fourth industrial revolution technologies, such as IOT Technology, are already impacting the business in a big way. This is especially true for the way in which they collect, assimilate and use the data being generated in their eco system. Internet of things or IOT is impacting businesses in four ways: Customer expectations, product enhancement, collaborative innovation, organizational forms. While the third revolution had simple digitization, the fourth one bases innovation on combination of technologies, forcing business to rethink the way they look at their business.
How IOT revolution will impact Governance
With IOT the physical, biological and the digital worlds are converging like never before. People today find more ways than ever to engage with the government, express opinions, even circumvent the govt. At the same time, with IOT applications, the govts can now have greater supervision of and control over populations. Pervasive surveillance systems and control of digital infrastructures allow govts to control the people. With the world evolving rapidly there’s a need to make new policies, revise the existing ones and hence accommodate the new order. Also, the governments will have to consider how emerging technologies like IOT are going to impact national and international security and they’ll have to prepare well for these new vulnerabilities.
How IOT revolution will impact Individuals
The internet of things is rapidly changing our identity and its related issues: sense of privacy, sense of ownership, time use patterns, consumption patterns, notion of relationships and more. This leads to a sense of quantified self. However, it also means our lives will be more convenient, we’ll have access to more and more information tailor made for us.
IOT has the potential to “robotize” our lives, deprive us of what we call human values. However it also complements creativity, empathy, and stewardship. Thus it also has the potential to steer us towards a new moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.