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Author's profile photo Sylvia Santelli

How EveryTHING Will Get Smart — And Why It’s Inevitable

Our stuff is getting smarter, there is no stopping it. The idea of smart TVs, phones and cars is either extremely exciting or incredibly scary because the possibilities are truly endless.


Futurists predict that by 2030 we will be interacting with up to 5,000 smart objects a day!

Do I want Smart Stuff?

It’s not that our things today don’t work. Our watches and houses work well.

But goods today are designed for the masses based on a generalization of what most of us would like to have. Those of us who don’t really want it are out of luck.

In the era of the Internet of Things, each item is proactively working to help an individual situation to be more efficient, solving particular issues in real time. It could be specific scenario that has an impact on a person, community, organization or even a country.

The situations and applications that we can address are only limited by our imagination.

How to Make AnyTHING Smart

John Barrett’s 2012 TEDx Talk on the Internet of Things outlined what’s necessary to make anyTHING smart:

  1. An identity: It needs a unique identifier. Pretty much every individual object that is born will get its own “social security number,” because it is a unique object that will act independently from all their counterparts.
  2. Senses: Your object doesn’t need all five, but it needs to be able to sense what is happening around it so it knows what information to engage with. If you walk up to your house, it needs to be able to see that it is you in order to know when to unlock the door.
  3. Remote Access Control: Of course you can control your smart watch on your wrist, but all these smart objects will be able to have another access point so they can be controlled (also shutoff!) remotely. Remember the last time you lost your phone? You ran to your computer to find its location — and ran just as quickly to the location with hope in the goodness of humanity in your heart. (Don’t worry; there are still some good people out there.)
  4. A way to communicate: This is the most critical piece. It’s what makes all the smartness possible and magical. Sci-fi can become real because we now know how to transmit all kinds of data. We have been transmitting our voices and e-mails really well the past several decades, but now, thanks to advances in technology, it can also sense and can be individualized.

Wake Up Telco, you are in the Driver’s Seat

Most, if not all businesses and industries will be effected by the Internet of Things, but telecommunications is in the driver’s seat. They are the secret ingredient, the magic sauce, the glue that is going help all these things to communicate. Telco is made of the following: Communication Service Providers (ex. Verizon, T-Mobile), Network Equipment Providers (ex. Ericsson, Nokia) and the device manufacturers (ex. Apple, Amazon).

Truth be told, Telco is in the midst of a radical transformation. But they need to figure it out faster.

A radical transformation is “typically externally visible; the entire business (needs to) establish a new set of core concepts,” The Business Transformation Journal stated in April. “Subsequently, new value propositions may be offered.”

The need to reinvent the business model is imperative to the survival of the industry and the Internet of Things, according to SAP’s Fergus O’Reilly, VP of Billing and Revenue Innovation Management. The model that Telcos have used is becoming outdated — quickly.

“So that’s one of (Telco’s) big challenges, trying to figure out new revenue drivers, new things that they can do with their subscriber base,” O’Reilly said when we chatted last week. “They can now invent new things on top and derive significant value for consumers.”

Now we know how to make our stuff smart. Let’s put that imagination to work.

Interested in more about Iot and the Networked Economy, see additional content here.

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