The 'Internet of things' is the next big technological revolution

The telephone, then digital telecommunication, have changed the way people interact. Now objects are getting connected, too.

According to Sasu Tarkoma, Professor of computer science, we are at the dawn of a new age of technology.

"The Internet of things will radically change the way we behave, work and live. The change has just begun, but it has already had a great impact on individuals as well as society as a whole."

Tarkoma is the academic coordinator for the Internet of Things research programme  which studies the Internet of things and develops business models based on it. The Internet of things means a system in which objects communicate with each other through the internet.

"There are already a range of smart devices on the market which allow people to track their movement, energy consumption or health."

The Internet of things will reform and streamline industrial processes by opening up new opportunities for creating high-tech products and making them available to all. When used in industrial production, Internet-connected devices report on their own status, environment and location and enable optimisation of the production chain.

Tarkoma believes the Internet of things will eventually permeate the public infrastructure. China has already built entire smart cities where connected devices track transportation, waste management and pollution. In a smart city, the trash cans announce when they need to be emptied, and a smart device can tell people when they need to head for the bus stop to get to their meeting on time.

Towards a smarter future

As homes, jobs and factories become more connected, we must be prepared for the potential consequences.

"Information security and data protection are key requirements for such systems. We must decide who collects the information, where it is stored and and how it is used."

Even though technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in society, change will not happen overnight. Data collected by smart devices has a market value in the billions, but we haven't found applications for all of the data yet.

"Different producers and areas of application have their own solutions which are not compatible. Our goal is to build bridges to connect different areas so that we can take full advantage of the benefits offered by a networked existence."

In March and April 2015, researchers and other experts will take us on journeys into different world views. Read more about the New World View science programme and join the conversation (#maailmankuva).

New World View 16 March – 12 April 2015

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