The Internet of Things (IoT) brings connectivity to devices previously isolated from each other. The market is in its infancy now, but by 2020, Intel predicts up to 200 billion IoT devices will in service. Generalized digitization in everyday life paves the way for a societal change created by the hyper-connected world. Smart machines and massive amounts of data give unprecedented insights and automate many tasks, but these benefits are offset by five voltage areas.
Opportunities or Capabilities?
Data generated by a fully connected world provides significant benefits to people who can access this information. Large companies manufacture IoT products and control the flow of data from around the world. Many people express their frustration at the apparent influence of business in politics. In addition, more hyper-connectivity will provide additional power to its businesses.
A hyper-connected society may also experience problems due to technical illiteracy. Those less familiar with technology do not take advantage of the benefits transmitted by complex networks with complex configurations. They resign themselves to using less efficient processes and also encounter difficulties in carrying out everyday tasks.
The release of work or the end of work?
The World Economic Forum predicts that automation and robotization will eliminate five million jobs by 2020. The impact goes beyond blue collar workers, affecting a significant portion of the workforce. The health care industry faces the biggest losses. Approximately two million jobs supporting hyper-connection technologies offset some of these losses, but these jobs require highly skilled workers. Some countries are experiencing basic incomes and other programs designed to ensure the quality of life of all residents, helping to minimize the inequalities created by an end-of-life society. Other strategies are aimed at improving vocational training to create a workforce capable of keeping up with the technology changes.
Over exploitation of resources or preservation of human well-being?
The Earth has limited resources and a growing human population. The BBC predicts a growth of 9.7 billion people by 2050, which forces the use of the planet’s resources because of their unsustainability. Human well-being depends on the evolution of resource consumption through the use of renewable energy sources, improved food production methods and reduced emissions.
Converging markets or fragmented structures?
The substantial increase in computing power also revolutionizes ownership. Digitization is already affecting many areas of today’s life, from how people consume music to resource allocations in a corporate network.
IoT is continuing this trend by changing the boundaries between industries. Money becomes a less valuable asset than data, which can lead to converging markets rather than operating in fragmented structures. Some high-tech companies will gain almost complete control over the business world, which will make it difficult for small businesses to get a foothold.
Freedom or security?
Globalization continues to bring people together through the Internet. Indeed, social media and online communities promote communication across cultural boundaries. The social position determined by the profession will fade as a result of the widespread automation of entire industries.
Businesses and individuals need to prepare for the hyper-connected future to make the most of these technological advances. No one can predict the full societal impact to come with these imminent changes, but understanding the opportunities of today helps to facilitate the transition later.