31 Oct

The Internet of Things here to stay

By Jacques de Jager, information & communication manager at MobileData

If you have had anything to do with technology in the past three months, chances are that you have come across the Internet of Things (IoT). In effect, this refers to how every device and appliance will be connected to the internet to significantly change the way we interact with the technology around us.

Within IoT we are already seeing several trends taking shape. Some of the key ones are finding ways for people to optimise how they do things and the resultant cost-savings they derive from that, the creation of new revenue streams due to the integration of different products and services, and giving people who could not previously afford it access to technology.

The last point is especially relevant in the South African context.

The IoT could help government and private sector organisations address unemployment through, amongst other things, innovative use of training. This could potentially see schools using new ways of presenting content to empower the next generation to utilise all that the digital space has to offer even though a large proportion of learners have never been exposed to IT.

However, IoT devices are becoming more affordable with old televisions also being able to be used as monitors. This give a opportunity to learn about technology and provide exposure to development environments that empower electronic engineering and IT.

In terms of software development opportunities, IoT also has much to offer. None of our devices can operate effectively without being able to communicate with one another. This has seen a big drive towards open standards which presents developers with an opportunity to express their creativity in making solutions that can exploit all that the IoT has to offer.

However, corporate decision-makers are still sceptical about the benefits. A large part of this is as a result of the perceived risk around IoT and the sharing of content. But the new generation of users do not seem to have a problem with it which could result in a mind shift when it comes to risk classification. In turn, this could result in a more welcoming environment for IoT-based solutions in business.

In South Africa, affordability and exposure to possibilities determine the adoption of technology. As such, the younger (and more connected) generation will be the driving force behind IoT.

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