Around 50 years ago it happened to be clear that the world will never be the same place again. The internet revolution has started. Today, we are continuing that process and the pace of changes is only increasing. Overall trends show that the differences between technological domains are blurring to answer the demand of modern society. The result of that is the birth of IoT applications in various domains, both on the specialized and mass market.
This in turn gives tremendous business and career opportunities for all types of specialists from various domains, because:
There is no smart city without smart sensors.
Smart sensors need an embedded AI.
Embedded AI requires data scientists.
This short scene shows the mechanism on how different technologies (in this case AI) are intertwined with the IoT. Unfortunately, this causes a high degree of uncertainty and is making business/career decisions more complex. In order to act wisely, you need a good understanding of the roots of these technologies.
Internet of Things (IoT)
As you probably might guess the Internet of things is a concept that is a little mixed up. So, I would like to divide it into two components: the internet & the things to introduce it that way.
Firstly, we need to look at the very basics and acknowledge that the existence of our universe is possible thanks to the 4 fundamental forces of nature: Gravity, The weak force, Electromagnetism, and The strong force.
For us, the most important is Electromagnetism, which throughout the past centuries we were trying to tame and benefit from. It was pretty unsuccessful, until the 19th century when we started to process the energy in more sophisticated ways.
At that time we uncover the potential of radio frequencies and made developments like electric light, transformer, wireless communication, etc.
If you are familiar with the early history of the internet you probably recognize the name ARPANET, which was a military program developed to connect the university centers in the United States. The next step was the creation of Internet Protocol (IP), soon after that the 1G cellular system was born and the rest of the story you know.
As you can see the Internet was initially created to connect specialized machines with at least a bit of computing power such as computers and in the later steps mobile devices. On the other hand, back in the ’70s, there were initial applications of machine-to-machine communication (M2M).
You might ask, how is today’s IoT different, from what it was in the past?
A great answer to this question is a quote by iotforall:
„The biggest difference between M2M and IoT is that an M2M system uses point-to-point communication. An IoT system, meanwhile, typically situates its devices within a global cloud network that allows larger-scale integration and more sophisticated applications. Scalability is another key difference between M2M and IoT. „
Let’s quickly visualize the power of IoT in practice.
Giving the example of healthcare true flawless experience might look like that: mattresses monitoring your sleep, chairs monitoring your posture, various medical devices testing your condition, microphones collecting the data about your cough to monitor lungs conditions, etc. This in turn shows that we need billions of more connections than we have today and it only is possible with the new generation of telecommunication architecture.
The answer to this demand is an improved technology of the 5th generation (5G) of cellular communication protocols, rules, and methodologies issued by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
It is mainly focused on:
- The wide availability of the signal (enhanced mobile broadband)
- Significantly decreased latency compared to 4th generation technology, especially useful for applications requiring critical reliability e.g. remote surgical operations
- Enhanced machine to machine communication up to 1 mln devices per 1 square kilometer
Technology still faces many challenges both in engineering and societal aspects. As you can see many challenges addressed by the IoT advocates are not going to be solved with the rise of 5G architecture. Cellular of the fifth generation might soon become outdated and that is why various R&D departments are already working on the 6G.
It is projected that the next few decades are going to be a constant transition process between new generations of cellular technology. Henceforth, it is obvious that 4G, 5G, 6G will overlap it selves and it would be hard to talk about one of them individually in terms of predictions. That is why I would like to describe more in detail the future potential business opportunities as the result of these three.
It is projected that by 2030 the overall telecommunication advancements will allow:
- Transfer of senses like smell
I would like to disclaim that this is going to be my private observation, that with the rise of political trends and ideas to give every person a salary from the first day of birth, this will have hundreds of results (not rating good/bad) and one of them will be the increasing boredom. The rise of all sorts of gaming apps using this feature is just a marvelous way to create new experiences and disrupt the entertainment sector.
- Inch perfect localization services
Space! The answer to an unbreakable internet connection all around the world. Satellite-based internet is a huge opportunity to enter growing markets like e.g. Nigeria. Many of the services that Google wanted to provide to this country failed due to low internet connection. In the next decade, it will change for the better. It is worth to mention almost everybody in Nigeria is a smartphone user.
Another aspect is the production and management of the data gathered throughout the satellites. Geospatial analytics is a great source of knowledge e.g. ability to measure the amount of gasoline in Saudi Arabian Oil Tanks and send this data to the NYC stock exchange to see how is the relation of stock prices to the real demand.
Not to mention GPS advancements that will make navigating, targeting, etc. more efficient.
How to benefit from it?
I hope that now, you have just a bit broader sense of how it all will be in the future and that now we are just starting.
Huge problems usually are followed by huge earnings if solved. Here is the list of problems and few interdependencies that might help build your future business model/career.
- Connectivity — discovering the ways to establish a reliable wireless connection. As we already know, the connection is just a radio wave of a certain frequency, hence it can be modulated. This modulation could be „smart” in the future thanks to Deep Learning and Machine Learning.
- Continuity — optimizing the battery life. How to predict long-term battery life by analyzing data from charge-discharge cycles?
- Compliance — be up to date with evolving regulations. As AI is improving financial services compliance, it has a significant potential for smart management of constantly changing regulations.
- Coexistence — billions of devices per km2 means billions of data that need to be processed. Smart sensors with embedded AI is a crucial element of industry 4.0
- Cybersecurity — a secure connection is the most important part of IoT. Which technology will make it possible? Blockchain IoT has a projected 45% CAGR, what will be the successor of NFC (near-field-connection)? Many questions little answers = good business opportunity.
- The transformation process will not happen overnight, 5G is very different from 2,3,4G because it is now when the Industrial revolution will be possible. Adding a coronavirus and the tendencies to move industry production from China back to Europe all give opportunities for businesses focusing on adapting Europe’s industry to new circumstances. All solutions connecting the old infrastructure with the new technologies are going to be crucial.
- In the IoT world embedded AI will be used very often and a certain degree of independence requires applied algorithms to be reliable. To do that the algorithms will have to be certified. If you like law and science maybe such a research center is a good career choice.
- As space will be a fundamental part of IoT systems and you would have an opportunity to work in a NewSpace company it is highly possible that you will benefit financially and you will have long-term stable employment.
Motion is everything. We are entering a time when the motion of people, cars, ships, etc. will be tracked and the data produced this way will be the new oil of our century. To benefit from it, you need to solve some issues named as 5 C’s of IoT and follow the newest media coverage about Industry 4.0 and the space race.