Saying that the future is no longer what it used to be is an old cliché. But, sometimes, clichés are also a wake up to reality, and hopefully a call to action. Times are different, not better or worse. Just different. But what does IoT has to do with it?
On Wednesday morning, Joe Barkai, industry analyst and author of The Outcome Economy: How the Industrial Internet of Things Is Transforming Everything, reminded attendees that 30M jobs will be lost in 2030, that we’re are not the customers anymore, but the products, and that our lives will soon be managed by algorithms and the bias that come with them. People in the room put away their mobile phones and just paid attention.
We know bias exists but since we are the ones creating it, how do we detect it? This is not an easy question to solve. Of course, “We might use Blockchain technology to authenticate data and make sure it’s robust,” said the expert. Also, “We should always suspect there’s a bias,” and encourage an open conversation about this issue, he added.
In this sense, forums like the IoT Solutions World Congress may help give discussions a different approach and bring to the table the real value of IoT and other emerging technologies, as well as other aspects such as the role of governments in ensuring that technology is inclusive and not biased.
Many people think that the value of IoT is in connectivity, but for Joe Barkai, the connectivity is going to become a commodity. “The value of IoT is in being able to aggregate different types of data to make better decisions,” put the industry analyst. This certainly entails changing the way companies work and their business models.
The question is: are we ready for all those changes? “We are more open than before to try products and, in the process, we are willing to give up some privacy,” insisted Barkai. So, there are some challenges ahead. Glenn Schnieders, Product Manager IoT at Brussels Airport, who reflected on travel in 2040, stressed that “IoT is the enabler of everything, as it helps people working with new insights,” but he also pointed out that standardization is still an obstacle. Oscar Lage, Head of Cybersecurity & Blockchain at Tecnalia, agreed and added that we still need to work on security, privacy and interoperability.
However, we certainly need to be optimistic about the future and balance whether these needed changes gives us competitive advantage. In this sense, the future is now. And yes, this might have turned into another cliché… or, hopefully, a call to action.
Tomorrow, more debate on transforming the industry and overcoming the IIoT challenges.