What Role Will Evolutionary Natural Selection Play in the Internet of Things?

By Sophie Curtis on March 02, 2015

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With the unprecedented amounts of data being created by an estimated 50 billion devices by 2020 the Internet of Things (IoT) will require enormous amounts of processing power, which will place great strain on the already struggling power grids of the UK and Europe. To protect against this, some forward thinking companies are already looking at alternative locations to base their data processing and storage needs, utilising the natural attributes of certain regions of the world to their advantage.

At the Internet of Things Summit next month in London, Furhaan Khan, Associate Director of Corporate Development at Verne Global, will discuss ‘Natural Selection and the Internet of Things’. Taking a slightly different look at the Internet of Things, Furhaan will examine how the development and structure of the IoT is more closely linked to evolutionary natural selection than we might have previously thought, and how the appropriate location of processing power is becoming critical to the ongoing growth and scalability of the wider network.

Verne Global, partners of RE.WORK, own and operate a data center campus in Keflavik, Iceland (seen above). As a strategic location between the world’s two largest data center markets, Europe and North America, Verne Global is addressing two key issues facing today’s data revolution - power pricing and availability.

We caught up with Furhaan ahead of his appearance at the summit, to hear his thoughts on recent and future advancements of IoT technologies:

What do you feel are the leading factors enabling advancements in IoT?
Consumer buy-in is a huge factor in pushing the IoT industry forward. IoT has reached the top of its hype-cycle, with people wanting to see practical, tangible examples of intelligent devices and systems beyond concepts that have been talked about over the last few years. This gives OEMs and industry players more impetus to think about next-generation IoT and explore the value of these devices and systems to us as businesses, industries and consumers.

Which industries do you think will be disrupted by IoT in the future?
I’m interested to see what’s next for consumer healthcare. It offers us the capability to understand the direct impact lifestyle choices make on our health and wellbeing and will allow us to start making informed changes. From a business perspective, it’s an incredibly lucrative market so I’ll be interested to see how the industry makes the most of this.

What is currently being developed in your field that will be essential to future progress?
We need to develop and refine the ecosystem in place to deal with the masses of data which is produced every second of every day, from these billions of connected devices. While the data centre only accounts for a small proportion of the whole network and IoT ecosystem, it takes up a disproportionate amount of the energy. However, our power grids across Europe are already hitting peak capacity, in turn increasing the risk of blackout. This has caused power prices to rocket. We simply can’t ignore the energy aspect of IoT.

We have built a physically secure data centre campus in Iceland, with access to one of the world’s most stable and cost effective power grids that is generated entirely without any carbon emissions. As our operations expand, we’ll continue to work with forward thinking businesses to help them think about sustainable, reliable alternatives to relocate their power intensive compute.

Which areas do you feel could benefit from cross-industry collaboration?
Healthcare, manufacturing, energy - these are all areas which stand to benefit from cross industry collaboration. There is a significant opportunity for larger, established organisations and service providers to build partnerships with smaller, nimble technology companies.

What developments can we expect to see in IoT in the next 5 years?
Safe, reliable and resilient networks – along with serious discussions around data privacy – will be on the agenda over the next five years. We will need IoT-specific security policies in place.

What advancements excite you most in this field?
What is exciting me most at the moment is the connected car, because this is something that really has the potential to gain significant consumer traction. It’s an example of IoT that people can relate to today. Manufacturers like BMW are already implementing connectivity tools that will make our lives easier. If you’re on the road a lot with work, imagine being able to make the most of your journey time, which is otherwise wasted, to set up your office on the go. Family road trips can be made more of an experience, using entertainment systems and search tools to find great restaurants and places to visit.

As this becomes more available, I’m keen to see what advancements are on the horizon. Maybe one day very soon we won’t even need to shop around for the best car insurance deal. Our connected cars will have the data to decide it for us!

The Internet of Things Summit is taking place in London on 12-13 March. For more information and to register, please visit the event website here.

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