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How will the Internet of Things influence the future of tech?

It seems like everywhere you look, ‘dumb’ devices are finding an excuse to get hooked up to the internet. Everything from factory robots to elevators and even the lights in your home are slowly joining the ever-growing ranks of the Internet of Things (IoT).

In 2009 there were less than 1 billion devices fitting this description – that’s excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones. By 2020 it’s estimated there’ll be between 20 to 30 billion devices, with that number growing exponentially.

By hooking these devices up to the internet we can enhance them with AI technology, opening the doors for smart homes, smart businesses and even smart cities.

In the home, having a smart home full of interconnected devices has the potential to make our day-to-day lives way more convenient.

Imagine you’re on the train home from work or uni – your smartphone could give your home air-conditioning system a heads up that you’re a few minutes away. Then the air-con (which totally remembers your favourite temperature) would fire itself up and cool your house down before you even open the front door.

And when you leave, any lights, TVs or air conditioning could automatically switch themselves off. In the near future, this sort of tech may be surprisingly commonplace.

For businesses though, IoT tech has the potential to totally change the way we work. At the Huawei Connect conference, Techly got a chance to look into some of the coolest industrial applications for IoT which are being implemented today.

Internet of Cows

Yes, cows.

Some of the world’s leading dairy farmers are kitting out their herds with Internet-connected sensors. These things are so high tech, they make your smart watch look like a toy. By making bio-readings of the cow, these sensors can alert herd owners when their beloved bovines are sick, ready for milking or ready for, erm… other things.

All this data gets fed into a central system which lets them see the status of their herd at any point in time.

Dark Factories

I’ve got some good news: IoT tech might be responsible for bringing manufacturing back to countries like Australia or the U.S.

Unfortunately, these factories won’t employ you, or me, or any person. The future of manufacturing is in Internet-connected robots, all controlled remotely – possibly even from a command centre overseas.

Unless someone is fixing or maintaining a machine, these factories could run entirely in the dark.

This is what factories of the future could look like!

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Smart Escalators and Elevators

The prospect of Internet-connected escalators and elevators should be like a breath of fresh air for those of us with a fear healthy respect for the infernal contraptions.

By giving them some internet smarts, elevators and escalators will be able to diagnose themselves and let building managers know when something is wrong or needs fixing.

Elevator and escalator manufacturer Schindler went a step further, describing a future in which artificial intelligence could examine the history and state of individual machines and predict when one of them is likely to break down.

Disclaimer: The author of this post was sent to Shanghai to cover the Huawei Connect conference courtesy of Huawei.

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