If you thought things were smart, IT’s about to get smarter.  

It’s time to get “SMART”. In the world of information technology everything seems to be striving to “get smart” as if prior to 2014 everyone or thing was somewhat dumb or lacked insight. And hot on the heels of the enterprise, the “SMART” moniker has also permeated the home. I am weeks away from the installation of my second “SMART” device, a smart energy meter (gas/electric). My first endeavour a few months ago was smart heating. I can’t wait for winter to arrive to allow me to test my ability to switch my heating on or off from a browser, monitor my household temperature and most “next gen” of all, allow the heating system to use my mobile phone GPS and location to switch on just before I arrive home and off just after I leave – now that’s SMART.

Home control image

And in the next few weeks smart metering will allow me to monitor and adjust my energy use wherever I am saving me money and helping me to save the planet. But it’s not just me who wins, the energy company no longer has the cost and hassle of physical meter reading and manual bill processing. Instead they have a real-time view of my energy use and ultimately their expected income – again, pretty smart.

But why now – why do we now have a SMART revolution on our hands? What has changed to enable yet another wave of heightened end user expectations? Not easy to answer.  Many cultural, behavioural and technology-based elements have come together at the right time to “smarten” our world, most notably reliable wireless networks, ever-evolving sensor technology (coined by many as the Internet or things or IOT) and analytics. Picture it, an activity as beneficial, simple and seamless as the remote control of my central heating from afar would be impossible without connectivity (network), a clever central heating thermostat (sensors) and analytics (to store data about the temperature of my house and make real-time decisions).  A quick scan across the web and it’s quickly apparent the “Internet of Things (IOT)” describes a $7 Trillion market opportunity by 2020 (source IDC) now hailed by many as the “next big thing”.

IOT is the term coined to describe the mass of connected devices (many non-computer or smartphone) with on-board processers, sensors and a means to transmit / receive data that secretly drive the modern world. Everything from traffic flow management to the retail point of sale experience is now monitored and controlled by electronic “things” that broadcast data to “other things”. And as those connected “things” have evolved, industries have determined the real power is the analytics of the data generated by them (that allows past, what if and future state business decisions to be considered).

If you are not embracing the SMART IT, or Internet of Things revolution you may be missing opportunities to drive material changes in your social, business, technology and end user experience. Impressive stuff and now as a consumer (not an IT technologist) I am waiting with excitement for the next instalment to my “SMART” digital world (ps, you may hope it’s not so compelling that I decide to keep it a secret.)

Until next time.

 

Colin W

Twitter@ colinwccuk

 

About Colin Williams

Colin is Computacenter's Practice Leader for Networking, Visual Collaboration & Security @colinwccuk

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