Prepare for the Collision of the Internet of Things and Smart Machines

By Sophie Curtis on March 09, 2015

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"Two massive technology tusunamis are heading our way – the Internet of Things and Smart Machines. Their collision with each other and us, is going to generate huge new opportunities in areas as diverse as healthcare, entertainment, disaster management, smart appliances, smart homes and smart cities."

Paul Clarke is Director of Technology at Ocado, the world's largest online-only grocery retailer. At Ocado Paul has worked on warehouse control systems, creating a highly automated fulfilment centres and co-wrote the first of Ocado’s award winning mobile apps which remain the only apps from a major retailer supporting full offline shopping. In his current role, Paul heads up Ocado Technology, whose 550+ software engineers and other IT specialists are responsible for building all the software and IT infrastructure that powers Ocado, and now Morrisons’ online grocery business too.

At the Internet of Things Summit in London next week, Paul's presentation will focus on the opportunities of this collision of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Machines, and what Ocado is already doing within its highly smart, highly automated, highly sensed environments. We caught up with him ahead of the summit to hear more:

What do you feel are the leading factors enabling advancements in IoT?
Proliferation of development platforms such as PI, Arduino, Mbed, Edison, BeagleBone etc, as well as reducing costs and barriers to adoption. Another factor is investment by major players such as Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Samsung, Intel, Arm, etc, and innovation driven by maker and startup movements.

Which industries do you think will be disrupted by sensors & IoT in the future?
  • Healthcare 
  • Entertainment 
  • Transport 
  • Homes and offices 
  • Construction 
  • Disaster management

What is currently being developed in your field that will be essential to future progress?
Technologies for communicating with highly dense clusters of machines and sensors; Ocado needs this in its highly automated fulfilment centres. Also, indoor location technologies, power management, and battery life.

Which areas do you feel could benefit from cross-industry collaboration?
Identity management, legislation and security standards.

What developments can we expect to see in IoT in the next 5 years?
We can expect further miniaturisation, more development platforms, easier integration, improved power management and battery life, and integration with smart machines producing lots more smart stuff.

What advancements excite you most in this field?
The collision of smart machines with IOT, to create a fabric of interconnected smart machines that are connected to each other and to the world via IOT. Also excited for IOT crowdsourcing and smart packaging, smart homes, smart offices, smart cars, smart factories etc! 

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

Big Data Smart Cities Industrial Automation Connected Home Robotics IoT AI


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