Technology Trends for 2013 – Everything Connected

In 2013, the physical and digital worlds will fuse. As Icreon Tech puts it in their Top 10 Technology Trends for 2013 predictions, “from the RFID tags on a runner’s bib to the real-time camera feed from traffic lights that informs driving routes, the physical world is becoming an information system.”
Combining mobile devices, sensors and services will enable the digitization of everything in our lives. From Google’s driverless car that drove 300,000 miles in 2012 without incident, to the 350 million IP devices that will ship in 2013, billions of data streams will be created enabling all kinds of new and exciting things. As Forbes put it at CES 2013, “Overlay your blood pressure history with your calendar and discover your most stressful meetings. You can imagine combining digital streams to do new things for users: moisture sensors that tell you when your plants need to be watered, automakers adding new features taking advantage of sensor data to help you park, progressive insurance with Pay As You Drive features offering lower rates if you share GPS data.”
Effectively more and more companies will take advantage of digital bread crumbs as data becomes the new currency of our lives and the Internet of Things becomes more prevalent.
The Internet of Things According to Gartner, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as physical items such as consumer devices and physical assets are connected to the Internet.” With IoT, mobile networking takes on a whole new meaning and extends to include embedded sensors, tablets, smartphones all communicating over Bluetooth, NFC, LTE and WiFi. This will be used to connect cameras, intelligent digital signage, watches, healthcare sensors, and home entertainment components.
Already over 50% of Internet connections are not traditional Internet devices. In 2011, there were over 15 billion things on the Web, with 50 billion+ intermittent connections. By 2020, there will be over 30 billion connected things, with over 200 billion with intermittent connections.
With some projections indicating that up to 100 billion uniquely identifiable objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020, the IEEE cites that the Internet has now outpaced our human understanding of the underlying technologies. “IoT will enable a wide range of new applications and services while raising many new challenges.” Gartner.
Post-Smartphone Era
The original iPhone was launched in 2007, and ushered in a new era of telecom services and user behavior. Today, over 65% of mobile phone use is in non-communications activities. Forbes says, Smartphones penetration is already above 52% of U.S. households, and tablets in 40% of U.S. households. The phone is becoming a communication hub and core piece of hardware connecting to tablets, TV remotes, laptops, home entertainment, in-home sensors, and health and fitness devices.
Home Automation
There is already very little in the home that technology doesn’t touch, but in 2013, expect those devices to get online as home automation introduces the art of connecting everything. Cheap sensors will enable automatic reordering of food products in the fridge. Intelligent thermostats will optimize electricity costs. Door sensors will allow unlocking of your front door via a smartphone app hundreds of miles away. But that’s not all; connections will extend beyond the confines of the home.
Cars go Online
CNN indicates auto companies including Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Audi and others are all showing off technology that makes cars smarter. From self-driving and driver assist which use combinations of GPS, cameras and sensors, to simple systems that monitor a car’s performance to improve maintenance. Finally from an operator perspective, expect all systems in the car to be retrofitted with voice activation and a library of applications.
Interactive Public Displays
IEEE has identified Interactive Public Displays as having an increasing prevalence in public and urban life. “With their prominent visibility and the integration of diverse methods for interaction, they can offer new opportunities to enrich user experiences beyond the personal sphere, for instance in public knowledge institutions such as museums and libraries, or integrated within public plazas or architectural facades.”
Machine-to-Machine
Beyond the phone, chips and micro sensors will create a rapidly growing “internet of things” sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and making virtual repairs all without human intervention.
According to Machina Research and MDSL’s Top 10 Telecom Trends for 2013, machine-to-machine (M2M) connections world-wide will grow from 2.4 billion in 2012 to 18 billion in 2022. Of this, 70% will be comprised of consumer electronics and intelligent building sectors. From a revenue perspective, 90% of this $400 billion market will be generated via the service wrap while just 10% (or $9 Billion) will come from the provision of basic mobile connectivity. This means the largest market for M2M growth will be in services, presumably around SaaS.

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