Technology Other News 26 Jun 2016 Device advice: How w ...

Device advice: How we can keep the future open

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ANIVAR ARAVIND
Published Jun 26, 2016, 1:13 am IST
Updated Jun 26, 2016, 1:13 am IST
The Internet of Things will form the building blocks of our future cities. But here are a few points to bear in mind.
IoT is the future but it’s messy, huge, and currently a mix of dominant proprietary things.
 IoT is the future but it’s messy, huge, and currently a mix of dominant proprietary things.

We now live in a world in which our devices are talking to each other. The gadgets exchange data, recognise other devices and some might say humanity is even prospering in this world of chat-happy multiple thingamajigs. Welcome to the Internet of Things — an age of linked devices and operations that allow co-ordination for a particular task. The simplest example is how IoT-enabled cars are transforming the urban cab industry, with players such as Ola etc..

The DHL and Cisco Systems’ 2015 Trends report sets the current number of connected devices at about 15 billion, amidst industry expectations that the tally will increase to 50 billion by 2020.

 

But here’s the thing. Everybody says IoT is the future, but there is no roadmap. It’s messy, vast, and currently a mix of dominant proprietary things. It’s almost like having pirate captains over for dinner. Yes, they’re willing to work together but egos and secrets do exist — and very soon you can expect a brawl. If we consider the IoT sphere as a 3-dimensional outerspace, connected devices are the spaceships — running small missions and exploring the frontiers. But in this space there lies oxygen — which is basically data. The period to survive in IoT space without data is certainly very short. At the same time oxygen is a very dangerous. It oxydizes and rusts objects and even explodes. And we have seen how dangerous data can be when privacy is violated. What can we do with this dangerous, useful substance is the important policy question in front of each IoT developer now.

On the technical side there are no clear and agreed-upon architectures for building connected systems. Today, IoT is an abstract collection of uses and products and there is a need to establish legal paradigms for effective use. Also, development of open standards reflecting the best architectural choices is necessary to facilitate genuine interconnectedness, which includes existing Web standards.

Because while the Centre pushes for Smart Cities, which will use IoT in urban life and as the number of smart devices increases, more content will appear on mobile devices. Markets like India, with a population of a billion people, must see devices speaking in local languages to enhance Indian user experience.

Smart Cities mean smart citizens. While startups and free, open-source communities work on open standards and architecture, the government needs to focus more on ensuring user control, safety, accessibility, open standards and interoperability.

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