By the end of this year, we will start to see people walk around with glasses that give an augmented view of reality; stare at their watches to read emails and wear headbands that control apps with a simple thought from our brain.
The Connected Revolution is here and 2013 is definitely shaping up to be the start of what is being coined the Internet of Things (IoT). New devices like Google Glass, Pebble, the iWatch and even the brainwave headband, Muse, are all expected to be available for purchase by the end of this year and this is all just the beginning. It is predicted that 50 to 100 billion things will be electronically connected by 2020.
While all this new technology coming to the market is exciting, one powerful ingredient is absolutely necessary for it all to work and thrive – Standards.
Standards are like an unseen force - something you never think of when it comes to functional technology but absolutely critical in making it all work. Email, HTTPS, USB and WIFI are all products of standards and of course we wouldn’t be able to live without any of these today.
I recently had the fantastic opportunity to sit down and talk with the Karen Bartleson, President of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association or the I-triple-E (IEEE-SA) on the important role standards play in this key time of our technological evolution.
Bartleson likened standards to “connective tissue” that is necessary to support and connect innovation and technology. Without standards, there would be no common platform from which providers could innovate and create upon. This would ultimately impact the widespread adoption of ideas and concepts necessary for technology to succeed on a global scale.
To build these standards, the IEEE organization often employ the use of an open paradigm they call Open Stand. This approach is essential to pace the speed of which standards are adopted with the fast pace of innovation – thus making it more market driven. The method uses the consensus of the IEEE membership requiring a majority agreement of 75% rather than the more national approach that leans on approvals from regulatory bodies such as the government.
As interconnectivity is a the core of the Internet of Things, IEEE is holding a workshop dedicated to identifying collaboration opportunities and standardization gaps specific in China on April 12, 2012 with the hopes to help the industry foster the growth of IoT in the market.
As well, according to Bartleson, IEEE-SA is currently working on a number of standards related to the Internet of Things including:
- Network standards
- Medical Devices
- Smart Home / Smart Grid
- Smart Highways
- Self driving cars
As we start to see more and more connected things integrate into our daily lives, we will know that the necessary standards to let our fridge talk to our phone; or our car drive us to work, have been put in place to make it all work. So when you strap on your iWatch or put on your Google Glasses – take a moment to say a silent thank you to IEEE-SA for helping to make it all happen.
By Tom Emrich