Dave Evans has adjusted his numbers.
Evans – former Cisco futurist, Stringify co-founder, and CEDIA 2017 keynote speaker – is now predicting that we’ll see 40 billion things connected to the internet by 2020. That’s down a bit from his prediction of 50 billion that he shared at CEDIA 2016 – but for Evans, it’s not about raw numbers.
It’s about the types of things that are being – and will be – connected.
“A decade or so back, if I had said, ‘I want to connect my shoes, or my toothbrush, or my front door lock to the internet,’ people would have laughed because it would have just made no sense, it would have been expensive, my shoes would have cost a thousand dollars, or whatever,” says Evans.
Today? The average consumer is surrounded by a wealth of intelligent devices – and they’ll need assistance sorting through their options.
“Traditional control systems are being augmented now with IoT devices, like door locks, and thermostats, voice control, connected light bulbs, and so on. So all of a sudden from a CEDIA perspective, their world, their opportunity has grown exponentially.”
“I mean, the sky's the limit; there's so many things you can now do – there's fitness, entertainment, health, security.”
Evans – given his background as a predictor of tech trends – takes the big pictures that he’s seen and narrows them down: What does a connected armored division on maneuvers have in common with a connected lightbulb?
“Once you start adding different types of things, you now get insight you simply didn't have before,” Evans explains. “It’s the old adage that you can't manage what you can't measure. And whether it's grand issues that we're dealing with, like climate, or small issues like in your home, the ability to get data from those things, to get insight, to manage things – it could be your utility bill, it could be your thermostat, it could be an entire city, it could be an entire planet.”
If the IoT can solve problems on the scale Evans is addressing, just imagine what it will soon do for the kitchen in your home.
Feed the World?
Let’s take a basic, fundamental example of how IoT can solve a pressing problem:
How are going to feed ourselves in the future?
Evans notes that currently the U.S. population adds another hungry mouth every 14 seconds. And Evans brings the dire news that more than 80% of the land that is suitable for farming is already being used.
“Land is in short supply, and yet, we have to double food production over the next few decades to feed all these people we're adding,” he says.
“It was about 20,000 years ago when humans began to farm. One can make an argument that for 99.9% of agricultural history, how we farmed didn’t fundamentally change.”
The process was repetitive and only as predictable as the weather: dig a hole, plant a seed, hope it grows. Sure, machines came along to speed parts of the process and buttress others – from combines to irrigation – but those tools couldn’t really challenge drought or the right scavenger.
Today, though, agriculture is about to undergo an enormous change – since ag, like any other industry, is subject to the universal laws of technological growth, the IoT is about to impact our food supply in incredible ways.
“We're already seeing the early stages of things like vertical farming and hydroponics,” Evans explains. “We're even seeing the merging of plant life with electronics where plants literally have electronics embedded in them as they grow, and plants could actually say, ‘Look, I need more water. I need more fertilizer. I need more pesticide.’ (Source: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/10/e1501136
“And connected sensors and connected devices allow us to do that. Long story short: The population is growing fast, land is shrinking, climate is changing, we need to grow a lot of food -- IoT is the answer.”
And if the IoT can solve problems on the scale Evans is addressing, just imagine what it will soon do for the kitchen in your home.
“There's so much opportunity, and those individuals and companies that can really make a mark can take advantage of a massive sea change coming into the home automation space.”
More about Dave Evans:
Dave Evans, Co-Founder and CTO of Stringify and former Chief Futurist for Cisco (where he coined the term “The Internet of Everything”), will share his insights on how these technology advances will open up vast new opportunities for tech integrators. Evans holds numerous patents in the fields of connected cars, networking technologies, virtual people, IoT, and more. You won’t want to miss this engaging and thought-provoking presentation.
San Diego Convention Center, Ballroom 20A
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Free to all CEDIA 2017 attendees
Register for CEDIA 2017 here