The Internet of Things

The day when we will have communicative clothing might not be too far off, according to a report titled “The Internet of Things” recently prepared by McKinsey & Company. The research highlights major changes that will result from a growing ubiquity of sensors and objects connected to the Internet, including “sensor-driven decision analytics” and “complex autonomous systems.” Watch the IBM video below for more details on autonomous systems.

The report identifies these systems already exist. For example, pill like cameras are now used to explore the digestive tract and send pictures back to doctors to pinpoint sources of illness. Data from remote satellites and sensors in the ground can modify fertilization of crops. Billboards in Asia can change to display the preferences of passers-by.

This however, is just the beginning. The McKinsey report claims as more sensors enter our devices and even clothing, we will have the ability to monitor the behavior of people, places and things through space and time, enabling such business applications as presence-based advertising.

Would consumers want to experience this kind of intrusive advertising? If done correctly, it could offer great benefits.

As much as any industry, health care should benefit most from this evolution. The McKinsey report notes, “In health care, sensors and data links offer possibilities for monitoring a patient’s behavior and symptoms in real time and at relatively low cost, allowing physicians to better diagnose disease and prescribe tailored treatment regimens.”