This story is from the 2014 Access 25. Explore more from this issue

The Internet of Things

Wish you could turn up the A/C from your iPad? There’s an app for that.

January 2014

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Before leaving work tonight, will you adjust your home thermostat using your mobile phone? If not, you soon will. The internet is coming to your light bulbs, running shoes and pacemaker.

In sectors from transportation to manufacturing to healthcare, physical objects linked through wired and wireless networks via the Internet Protocol will continue to improve productivity.

McKinsey principal Markus Löffler recently referred to this as the “fourth industrial revolution,” one in which “smart” products govern themselves, take corrective action and even automatically replenish supplies — technologies that already exist today.

As Löffler tells McKinsey: “‘Process and device’ will be inseparable; physical things become part of the process. Machines and work flows merge to become a single entity. The work flow ceases to exist as an independent logistical layer; it is integrated into the hardware.”

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