As devices become more and more connected to the internet, human interaction with Internet of Things products will continue to increase — from sensors monitoring our traffic to measuring environmental changes to targeted marketing in stores.
“The human interface with IoT will continue to extend,” said Glenn Fitzgerald, the chief technology officer of Product Business Line in the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region (EMEIA), at Fujitsu Ltd., the Japanese information and communications technology company, which had $40 billion in revenues last year.
Fitzgerald was in Israel last month to mark a year of the Japanese giant’s sales activities in Israel. “As sensors become ubiquitous, they enable more location-aware applications that take the concept of Pokémon Go to the next level,” he said in an interview with The Times of Israel.
Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game developed by Nintendo that saw players running around, armed with their smartphones, to try and catch the virtual Pokémons that popped up in their neighborhood gardens or streets.
Location-aware apps may take the form of targeted marketing, based on a customer’s location in a shopping mall, for example. Or they may used in updating a planned journey during rush hour or in mobile virtual reality gaming.
For example, explained Fitzgerald, IoT sensors will be able to detect a person’s entry into a store — based on facial recognition from a photograph held in that person’s shop account details — and broadcast offers to that person via their smartphone, based on their purchase history at the store. Or, when a person takes an eye test, an app would transmit an image of that individual wearing a particular set of glasses.
In virtual reality gaming, once items like Apple Glasses are sufficiently mature, they may enable the overlay of the real world with gaming images. “So, the guy you are paintballing against appears to be an Orc with a magic sword, rather than your mate from down the street with a paintball gun,” he said.
In addition, Fitzgerald predicted, the increased use of IoT will also have an impact on healthcare — with more and more sensors implanted into people to monitor their health.
“By integrating this capability, for example, as part of pacemakers or other devices, healthcare professionals will be able to monitor medical conditions closely and the data will enable them to predict a potential crisis, like a heart attack,” he said.
“A friend of mine was fitted with a pacemaker after a heart attack as part of an IoT pilot project,” he said. The pacemaker was fitted with sensors and Bluetooth devices that enabled the download of data in real-time to an edge station in the patient’s home. This data was then transmitted to a cardiac health knowledge system in the cloud, which analyzed the data and produced an almost real-time monitor of his heart’s health.
“One day last year, the system rang him up and told him to rest and take meds, because he was at risk of another attack. He did so, and no attack occurred. This seems a great example; entirely automatic, and therefore 7 x 24 x 365 preventative health care,” Fitzgerald said.
Other implants will probably develop around the monitoring of chronic health issues, he said, like implanted blood sugar monitors for diabetes, and more intrusive and comprehensive implants — covering both health and personal security — for people with debilitating conditions like Alzheimer’s.
The global IoT market is estimated to be valued at more than $1.7 trillion by 2019, with the number of global connected devices forecast to reach 20.35 billion in the same year, according to Statista.