Tech companies should focus on creating more intelligent objects, according to Neil Yorke-Smith, assistant professor of business information and decision systems at the American University of Beirut, who spoke at the annual STEP conference, which took place today (Wednesday, April 30) at Al Serkal Avenue in Dubai.
His seminar, entitled: Dumb Intelligence: The Future with an Internet of Things, was a technological discussion specifically pushing for tech companies to focus on creating more intelligent objects, rather than software applications to control dumb objects.
He opened by saying: “What might happen when everyday objects are connected to the internet and can communicate with one another? This is the Internet of Things, a vision of the future that might be just around the corner.”
Yorke-Smith argues that by creating smarter everyday appliances, the progression of useful technology can begin. He describes how we are currently seeing examples of such appliances in the fitness industry, with software such as Fitbit that allows users to track their daily exercise routines.
“Research company Gartner estimates that, by 2020, there will be 30 billion devices connected to the internet,” he says. He is hoping to see a future where household devices have the capability to work “autonomously”. Talking about the potential of smart applications in the healthcare sector, he says: “The trend is smaller and smaller wearable technology. Stanford University [has created a chip that] is small and robust enough that you can inject it under the skin. Imagine its use in an automatic pancreas for a diabetic patient. The under-the-skin glucose monitor communicates over Bluetooth with your smartphone that controls the insulin pump worn around the waist.”
The Internet of Things could very well become a reality in the near future and has the potential to allow industries to thrive. York-Smith adds: “What’s needed in the vision about the Internet of Things is not only connected devices, but smart assistant agents, such as Siri, that are a whole lot smarter.”
Yorke-Smith has a decade worth of experience in the field of technology and has worked as part of the team at SRI International that created Siri, which was later acquired by Apple in 2010.