A Quantified, Greener World

By Catalina Alvarado Pedro Olaya

TV shows like The Jetsons,  Star Trek or Futurama  and movies like Back to the Future, Ghost in the Shell  or The Matrix have created a collective imaginary of a future where our daily lives and routines unfold in entirely unforseen ways . The surprising (and scary) thing is that parts of this future are closer to us that ever and driving those changes are some amazing technological innovations like Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printingQuantified Self,   Drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) , Augmented RealitySixth Sense and (of course) analytics. Let’s take a glimpse

It is 2024, as you get up a few unexpected things happen. Your general health state was monitored over the night and will be constantly checked during the day by some devices, which with a display showing different symbols such as smiley faces, will tell you if your indicators are fine or if there is something to check anticipating any medical condition. As you leave home your shared-time driverless car service, using predictive models, will estimate which car should come and pick you up.  Also connected with the traffic system, your car will estimate precisely the right variables (speed, optimal road, etc) that would make the most efficient ride. In this future red lights are unnecessary, parking lots and total road usage are minimized, decreasing carbon emissions and traffic jams [1].

In your daily live the ability of things to communicate with each other and do analytics in the fly in an enhanced version of the internet (IoT) will make your live easier in many ways. For example when you are at the airport (supposing that they still exist) your waiting time due to delays or for luggage. It is expected that airplanes will be able to warn airports while fying for example about their exact ETA and precise information on the luggage it carries or predict if they need some preventing maintenance.

You  might realize that you have forgotten some important devices at home and that you need them as soon as possible then you might contact your prefered shared drone service to bring them, making the entire process faster, easier and greener.

In fact many of these technologies already exist or are in advanced prototyping stages.

Tech trends

Internet of Things (IoT)

It is based on the idea that the interconnectivity and interoperability among everyday objects will facilitate  the way we do things. The idea is that these objects can interact with their internal states and the external enviroment, allowing us in this way to monitor everything, boosting efficiency,  reducing waste, loss and cost. 

An example of an this concept is award winning Neurio. It helps your home appliances to become smarter by using WiFi, cloud technology and a smart pattern detection algorithms. It also helps you reduce your overall power consumption at home by managing your appliances.

It is believed that when IoT is applied to industrial processes, this will revolutionize many sectors and in this context is called Industrial Internet.

3D Printing

The hottest buzz word these days in techy world is probably 3D Printers. With these toys you can build anything ranging from a prothesis to a house and anything in between, for example an acoustic guitar, a SLR camera lens. This is becoming a real game changer in a lot of industries and a lot of regulation is expectd around it, for example in gun printing.

Drones

Use of drones has grown quickly. They are being used mostly for surveillance and transport. Amazon’s R&D Lab has prototyped some models for immediate delivery.  On the other hand the Office of the Information Commissioner of Queensland cites the advantages that drones bring to the military like they can stay many non-stop hours flying, they are much cheaper than usual military aircraft and they can be flown remotely so there is no danger for the flight crew.

From the point of view of analytics drones are very flexible when collecting information. They are able to capture diferent types of information from an almost unlimited range of locations within their scope.  However in Its capability for collecting information so efficiently is where the drones Achilles’ heel lies.  They do not distinguish between private and public information when capturing it.

Health, Fitness & Quantified Self 

These technologies consist of sensors that monitor and track vital signs, body movements as well as clinical data. We all know someone who uses the Nike Band, shoes sensors or the smartphone app that tracks their performance while exercising. This tracking trend has been expanding well beyond the world of fitness to include an entire family of devices that serve purpose known as quantified self (QS).

QS refers to the idea of personal analytics, by incorporating technology to the process of gathering personal data, might it be from your body, what you do, where you are, what you eat, etc. This trend has been possible by the lowering of costs of personal computing, sensors and other types of technologies that facilitates this tracking process.

 

[1]. In the  IBM Global parking survey the very dramatic effects of transportation in pur daily lives are presented. See also this blog post

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