The future of IoT: Creating the “Internet of Me”

By Matt Anderson

| Healthcare

The future is connected to the Internet. Billions of IoT devices are already connecting everyday objects — including our own bodies — to online technology, and the growth rate of these solutions is set to climb for the foreseeable future. Research from IHS Markit estimates that by the year 2030, there will be 125 billion IoT devices in active use around the globe.

Consumers have already sampled the future of IoT in a variety of forms; smartwatches, thermostats, in-home digital assistants and fitness trackers all have a place in the global IoT ecosystem. Even as this technology gains popularity, it continues to evolve and take on new ways of integrating with our daily lives.

That integration is set to become more personal than ever. In the not-so-distant future, consumers will find themselves so inundated with IoT technologies that they’ll quickly come to recognize their own physical bodies as the hub of this innovation. Think of this as IoT 2.0, better known as the “Internet of Me.” It’s important for both businesses and consumers to understand the implications of this coming wave.

A new way of thinking about the future of IoT integration

Many of the conversations currently taking place about IoT misstate its value and potential. It’s not only about gathering data from once-inaccessible resources — although that’s an important first step. Knowing your heart rate and general level of physical fitness is fundamentally important, but it doesn’t offer a complete picture of your overall health.

The future of IoT is far more advanced than today’s common predictions. Eventually, it will integrate with our DNA. It will know what’s happening in your body before doctors or current medical technologies have a clue. It can trigger a response to brewing problems before symptoms arise.

Diabetes management is a perfect example. Today’s diabetics must dedicate significant brain space to tracking their treatment and caring for their bodies. They have to think about what they eat, when they eat and how much they’re eating at any given time. So, here’s an idea: Forget about using mobile technology to better track your insulin levels. Why not build an IoT solution that tells you what, when and how to eat? Even better, why not have that technology programmed to order an appropriate meal for you? This is what Internet of Me, (IoMe) is all about: saving people from translating data to reach their own conclusions. Instead, the technology itself does the heavy mental lifting for consumers.

This is only one way IoT will drive transformation of our everyday lives. But it’s a critical difference-maker for diabetics, and similar advances can be made for an infinite number of use-cases.

Overcoming obstacles to IoT integration

It’s easy to understand how this technology can be applied, but there’s plenty of work to be done to create a world in which these technologies can be deployed.

An obvious barrier is the need to foster collaboration among developers, engineers, biologists, chemists and other professionals currently involved in the treatments and conditions being addressed. But security concerns are also paramount: IoT integrated with the human body must be impervious to DDoS attacks or other breaches that could hijack technology and/or lead to malfunctions. There’s no room for error when human lives are at stake.

Experts are still working on how to implement these solutions and how security can be bolstered, whether that includes the use of DNA-based encryption of other strategies more rooted in human biology than in mathematics. It’s a daunting task, and it will require the best minds to build workable solutions.

These challenges must also be addressed by product developers building IoMe solutions. As with other types of IoT, the solutions must be easy to use if they are to be deployed on a large scale. But simplicity can’t be achieved at the expense of security. It’s necessary to technology that is sophisticated, effective at solving problems, immune to modern security attacks and still accessible to consumers lacking technical knowledge. It’s easy to conceptualize, but it’s much harder to create.

Despite these challenges, no one questions whether the future of IoT is building toward a proliferation of IoMe technology that changes the world at the individual consumer level. The question is how to leverage the benefits of IoT while leaving its present-day flaws behind. The answer won’t be found overnight, but it remains an exciting time to be working in this field of mobile technology.

Written By

Matt Anderson

Chief Digital Officer and President, Arrow Electronics

Matt Anderson leads the continued buildout of Arrow's digital strategy and new online operating model including eCommerce, cloud enablement, digitization, SaaS, technical media, and multi-channel sales.Prior to joining Arrow, Matt was the CDO of Hibu/Yell and led the development…