Internet of things: are we stuck in place?

    Today, IoT believes how little what else. Stronger control over the environment, more real-time data about it, more decisions that devices make on their own, based on “communication” with each other. The number of devices and sensors in the Internet of things, according to Juniper Research, will reach 50 billion by 2022 - 6 with a penny of devices for each person. The enthusiasm of those who rely on the “breakthrough” potential of an ecosystem is sometimes dumbfounded. This enthusiasm forces one to overlook those objective technological limitations that can not let them stop, but stretch in time the promised changes in life, business and IT. Will we come to the triumph of the fourth industrial revolution? Yes Yes. True, it looks like we still have many intermediate stages of the pre-revolution built v3.4.6 type.

    Power of things

    There is a huge gap in society in terms of ownership of technological competencies. Someone joined the digital environment as an adult uncle or aunt, and with a smartphone in hand, bypassing the good old web, and did not even know how to take a screenshot on the desktop. And someone, like many of us on Habré, is indignant because of the slow pace of approaching a technological singularity. Sometimes it seems to me that you can’t get through the representatives of the second category with any fascinating futuristic concepts and air-virtual locks. They are all ok: "Well, yes, soon everything will be so." With regard to the Internet of things such techno-optimism acquires a generally amazing scale. Here is PwC spentRecently, a study (and not only geeks came under the survey), and it turned out that people are seriously waiting for clothes with a permanent connection to the network by 2025. Every tenth inhabitant of the planet will definitely wear something like that. As if socks with Internet access will give some advantages.
    And in the consulting agency Frost & Sullivan stated that somewhere by the same time, sales of UAVs will pass for 36 million units. The main thing is, everything with such reinforced concrete confidence, as if we are already in the future and these are not forecasts, but a statement of fact. Drain the gas! Give each cleaner a minimum of three slave drones.  

    No, in fairness it should be noted that the mass of IoT solutions has already become completely mediocre and ordinary things. For example, it is not the first year around the world, including Russia, that the smart grid of power supply (smart grid) is deployed. With the help of such systems, it is possible to optimize the efficiency of the power grids themselves and, in conjunction with higher-level logic, make their operation commercially more profitable: for example, include reacting to failures or changing subtle parameters on the fly.

    Is it any wonder that there are professionals who have long seen the potential on the Internet of things? And they are professionals who, it seems, should all be questioned, do not in the least doubt that the Internet of things will become one of the fundamental technologies of the near future. And billions of sensors along with wearable devices and other smart-pieces will become something like the nervous system of our habitat. People prefer to look a few steps forward. Restraining factors for them, by analogy with jurisprudence, are often seen as “engineering insignificant”. And in vain!

    "Connected things of the century"

    According to Bernd Gross, Senior Vice President of Software AG, a good half of IoT projects fail. Mainly because at the start, their creators underestimate the overall connectivity of the infrastructure they are going to deal with, and the set of technologies necessary for success.

    And at the level of the technological environment of barriers in IoT is full, and without their elimination, futurological forecasts will remain futuristic forecasts. I recently attended a couple of conferences where participants talked about what they thought the digital future looked like. Of the most interesting ideas, I put together two situations:

    Agriculture. Imagine a small, but proud, highly intelligent farm of the 2030 model. Well, except that a little bit easier than the one where the hero arrives at the beginning of "Blade Runner - 2049". All elements of its technological infrastructure are linked together: from sensors for calculating the optimal irrigation pattern of various crops (such already exist - CropX and others) to the perimeter security control center - both at the physical and at the network level. The farm is connected to the regional power grid, but is partially self-sufficient: it receives electricity from its own wind turbines and solar panels.

    Suppose that in certain periods - good weather, the lack of intensive work, and so on, the own energy production exceeds the needs of the farm. These surplus entrepreneur sells to the regional power grid. Instead, he either receives a quota for a proportionate number of kWh from the distribution center in the future (with a bonus for cooperation), or exchanges them for a certain cryptocurrency, since all operations in the network are immediately recorded on the blockchain platform. Moreover, this “coin” will be the industrial equivalent of value common to the whole “agricultural complex”. It can also be obtained, for example, by selling finished products further down the supply chain. Or, in turn, convert into one of the universal value coins, which are suitable for any calculations.

    Of course, all these procedures, while maintaining the possibility of human intervention, will be automated through and through. Artificial intelligence, calibrated by specialists with regard to the farm owner’s requests, will itself count at least tactical operations. When and in what amount it is more profitable to transfer the proceeds from the sold electricity to the deposit, and when it is more correct to use these funds for early repayment of the loan to wind turbines and solar batteries or to their depreciation. These alternative sources of energy, too, of course, will be equipped with sensors that monitor their functioning and degree of wear. Moreover, if the farm has managed to balance all its elements in such a way that, by some indicators (yield, energy efficiency, etc.), it is objectively ahead of the neighbors, artificial intelligence will file a patent application for this scheme of work. And by the choice of the owner, either save it as a private know-how, or sell it to the neighbors for the same industrial “crypt”.

    E-commerce. The same 2030th. My “wearable windbreaker”, the chip of which, incidentally, along the way, helps the distributed tasks with the Yandex.Is pilot-tree algorithms, which each month discharges 0.07% of my tuition debt at Knewton – Coursera (the leader of world lifelong-learning), “ I was wasted digitally. " It signals not for the first time, now with a “red” level of anxiety: the clothes have almost worked out their hardware resource, it's time to think about a new one. And the exoskeleton presented by my parents for landscape morphing (I have a dear hobby for VR usability, yes!), Although it is in good condition, but it requires replacing an important node - thanks to the monitoring sensors in advance, which suggest the situation beforehand, without allowing that moment when I am holding a stone under a ton.

    If I agree to splurge right away, both on the new cybervector and on the spare part, these notifications will be "smurged out" and in the form of a single request will go to that e-commerce hub where I have the maximum discount. I can buy now, and I can in three days, but on more pleasant conditions. Because the node for the exoskeleton is made on a 3D printer, and the open data on the loading of the printing unit shows (not for me, of course, but for my home AI accounting) that in three days it will have a peak of orders similar to mine. So, due to the optimization of production, the release of each part separately will be cheaper. These “joint purchases of 3.0” will, in fact, be produced on the principle of modern programmatic advertising. When the order is ready, the delivery drone will send a signal to my smart watch, asking them for time intervals, in which I will most likely be able to take an order and in which the traffic of the flying UAVs is least dense. And that's it, I'm handsome!

    It was smooth on paper

    Handsomely? Yes. Is it real? With many ifs. Although almost all of these technologies in one form or another are used today and are combined in different configurations, on the way to the realization of not the most insane fantasies such as those described above - the darkness of obstacles. And all - very mundane character.

    • High power consumption of smart things.The more complex the functionality of the devices included in the Internet of things, the higher their power consumption. And many gadgets and sensors will have to work autonomously. In addition, with the increasing connectivity of the infrastructure and the growing number of devices in the global IoT park, the number and frequency of m2m connections will increase, which will also require additional energy costs. Solar panels and other Energy Harvesting technologies only partially solve the problem. All the same, “smart” connected gadgets and sensors will need much more capacious batteries. At the same time, current wireless standards, from GPRS to Wi-Fi, are quite energy intensive. The industry players are pinning great hopes on the introduction of the 5G generation communication standard, namely IMT-2020, but it’s still far from widespread.
    • “Patching" IoT " . On the one hand, the competition of standards and IoT solutions should help to identify the most viable among them. On the other hand, this “complexity” hinders the achievement of the very connectivity that the Internet of Things promises to change only IT, but also our ordinary life - in a qualitative way. Let's start with the fact that so far a whole heap of basic protocols is developing in the industry, and the well-known LoRaWAN, NB-IoT and 6LoWPAN are not limited to. The further, the harder they will be " make friends "Without the concerted efforts of the key players in the market.
    • Economic benefits . The development of any technology is determined by how ultimately its implementation is expedient from a financial point of view. For example, the component base of a particular IoT system at the current level of technological development may be too expensive and not paying for itself, even in the long term. Or it turns out that this system will produce the necessary economic effect only “on large numbers” when it becomes a global de facto standard with millions of copies.

    The enumeration can be continued, there are definitely more barriers, but you can become discouraged on the first paragraph. Yes, it is possible that more capacious batteries will soon be invented. Yes, in Russia (“Chiyisto is hypothetical!”), They can begin to allocate additional frequencies for LTE networks. Yes, you can train machine learning to predict strongly in advance when the nodes of each specific local IoT system will need to be replenished, repaired, and so on, and based on this, choose the best moments for maintenance with minimal costs. But for me, so far all this looks like something like a white elephant, which the Indian kings gave objectionable subjects: it was impossible to refuse a gift, but ate an elephant a lot, so it could easily ruin its owner. And yet, since IoT devices will become the “nerve tissue” of the world, they should be protected from cyber attacks (which is often not very good at the moment), and their functions should be duplicated so that after the breaking of a particularly critical node the world economy does not roll down the slope. But maybe my fear is in vain and the bright minds and straight arms have already figured out at least with the power consumption of the Internet of things? Not bad b. Somehow I got tired of explaining to the courier on the phone for a few minutes how to get from the subway to my house 150 meters, instead of the Apple Watch version 23 explaining this to the drone.

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