The future potential of the IoT… FWIC15 Insights. By Nino Manikandan, Barts Health NHS Trust
The conference was based for the first time in London, at the Emirates Stadium, and despite stepping foot on enemy territory (being a Manchester United supporter!), I was nevertheless able to appreciate my pristine surroundings as a worthy venue for such an event, considering the calibre of delegates and speakers I would encounter later on.
Being one of the few delegates present from outside the wireless industry, I was quizzed by a number of my fellow attendees as to why I was there. As a Clinical Engineering Technologist working at Barts Health NHS Trust, I was interested in finding out more about how the latest advances in wireless technology could be harnessed and optimised for potentially improving healthcare from a global perspective.
Virtually all of the short talks were both engaging and eye opening, with regards to potential future trends, as a recurring theme throughout the conference was the Internet of Things (IoT); a key emerging technological scenario where devices would be able to instantaneously communicate with each other, extending to the creation of smart cities, classrooms, homes and (most relevant to myself) hospitals in the future, where HealthKit enabled apps could also be incorporated and medical devices able to update themselves over-the-air. Rather pertinently, the first FWIC 2015 keynote speaker, Mr David Wood, addressed the issue of ‘corporate inertia’ – organisations who, through not keeping up with and implementing change, eventually lost market share and gradually became irrelevant (highlighting the curious case of the video rental chain Blockbuster in the late 90’s, who underestimated the potential of the up-and-coming online streaming service Netflix). Along with the future potential of the IoT, this was the number one key insight I was able to walk away with for my future career development – always stay ahead of the curve and keep abreast of ‘disruptive’ technology, or end up becoming a redundant ‘fossil’!
The meteoric rise of ‘cloud’ computing, ‘Big Data’ and ubitiquous connectivity portals (IPv6, 4G, LTE-Advanced, and eventually, 5G) over the last decade, as touched upon by various speakers, will contribute significantly to the future growth of the IoT – thus eventually rendering it as either an extremely ‘disruptive’ technological development, or the most useful opportunity for the rapid advancement of society and mankind we will see over the next 30-50 years (hopefully the latter!). During the track session I attended (#1- Reinventing Urban Design Wirelessly), it was also interesting to hear the predictions of some of the panellists, ranging from the dominance of data analytics, to the death of the humble automobile, and (most scarily!) the convergence of electromechanical and biological systems, leading to embedded technologies within living beings! A key issue I personally felt was important, was the security issues and transparency involved in implementing future wireless technologies such as the IoT, along with precisely defining what 5G (which currently has a very diverse interpretation of its potential applications) really means for the next generation of wireless devices.
Overall, FWIC 2015 was a fascinating and thought-provoking experience (I was especially impressed by the tap-to-connect networking ID cards, which I had never encountered before!), and I would highly recommend anybody with even a passing interest in technology in general, to consider attending this event in the future. Wireless is dead, long live wireless!
About The Author
Nino Manikandan is Clinical Technologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, London
Connect on LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/ninomanikandan
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