The Internet of Things (IoT) will bring smart capabilities to all areas of our modern lives. In some respects, it already has, but we should expect to see more with even greater sophistication.
For an example we need look no further than the quantified self. What could be more important than using IoT and smart solutions to improve and sustain our own health and wellbeing.
Increasingly people are either passively or actively monitoring their exercise and vital signs. They share their personal data with service providers to receive instruction, encouragement and support.
This quantification is either from sensors contained within smart phones or wearable devices, and the availability and analysis of these data points can have a transformative outcome for individuals. The sharing of data allows virtual personal trainers and social networks to help educate, motivate and reward, and the beneficial side effects include a healthier population and reductions in health care costs.
As people become comfortable with the ability of smart technology to record and inform securely so the appetite will grow for more detailed data gathering and analysis. Smart phones and wearables can monitor your steps, speed, heart rate, sleep patterns etc., but why stop there? Why not have data from other connected devices for metrics like your blood pressure, oxygen and sugar levels, and how can I politely put it, your “bodily outputs”? Perhaps a connected loo can perform some convenient sampling as part of your morning routine. Connect in digital scales for weight measurement and you’ll be able to gather a powerful set of information for your own personal “preventative maintenance”: a rich historical data set which will allow for trends and issues to be spotted and remedial actions recommended.
True smartness though comes from the ability to apply context to data. Why not let your health and wellbeing data aggregator have access to your DNA profile so that it can begin to monitor your progress against expected outcomes? Your DNA is individual to you, but it will have similarities to others and can be matched with other profiles and advice provided based on crowd sourced experiences. Your virtual personal trainer will be able to be entirely personal to you, advising you about your dietary needs as well as recommending particular activity types and exertion levels based on what has worked for others.
If that all sounds a bit far-fetched then look towards what is already being achieved in farming. Precision farming is looking to help maximise agricultural productivity by using IoT and smart technologies to monitor and analyse data from herds and fields. As the growth in the human population makes more demands on farming so technology is being deployed to help increase efficiency.
Livestock are even being provided with their own wearables and their vital signs being continually tracked and reported. The big data from entire herds is then used to help keep them healthy and able to perform at their best.
Now I would not want to suggest that we should consider ourselves as livestock, but it’s certainly interesting to see that similar IoT and smart solutions can be deployed in both domains.