In November of this year, Telstra and The ACS hosted a forum on thought leadership titled Navigating The Internet Of Things.

Geared towards Australian businesses, the event was keynoted by Kevin Ashton - a writer, teacher, technologist and entrepreneur who coined the term Internet Of Things (IoT). Also speaking at the event was Glenn O’Sullivan from Uber, Andrew Johnson from the Australian Computer Society and Director of FRV Capital and Technology Entrepreneur Naomi Henn.

The event focused on how technology has progressed and is building to help humanity solve the biggest upcoming challenges of the 21st century. This included how smart innovations are driving growth, ways our interactions with data are becoming streamlined and how our technology is connecting in new ways every day.

Click here to view highlights of the forum

What is the Internet of Things?

According to Kevin at the Strong Korea conference in 2014, IoT is the marriage of networking and sensors that allows more intelligent and more autonomous information gathering than ever before.

He suggested that The Internet Of Things is “when we have computers that can sense the real world for themselves and by themselves,” meaning that “information about [real] things in the world can be made available automatically.”

Smart tech designers are coming up with new ways to interact with technology every day. Ninja Blocks is one example, which allows you to connect every wireless device in your house, and control them all from one place.

For Naomi Henn, The Internet Of Things can be used intelligently by businesses to “create an unfair advantage by leveraging the online and offline”. This new interconnected nature can open up business problems to new solutions from all over the world, instead of solutions being reliant on one business owner.

What does this mean for the future?

The transformation from IT to IoT is central to businesses driving innovation. While traditional IT is all about how clients interact with the system, IoT is looks at how systems work with one another and offer smart solutions to the user.

We see this every day when with companies like Uber: your phone knows where you are and the driver’s phone knows its position. They can then communicate with each other to find the right match without human interference.

For Uber their service was built out of necessity. The story as told by Glenn O’Sullivan goes that on a rainy night in Paris without a taxi in sight, founders of Uber thought “How great would it be if you could just pull out your phone, which is already connected to the internet and have someone come to you?”

And so one of the most disruptive and successful technology businesses in recent memory was born.

IoT also provides space for innovation in the world of security and information. In a technology landscape that is flush with information drawn from individuals such as locations, shopping habits, and internet usage, how businesses protect information is critical. Kevin Ashton suggested that the discussion needs to begin with individuals being aware of what information they are sharing, and businesses being smart with the information they have.

IoT has seemingly limitless possibilities. By connecting our devices to an ever-expanding network with all of the world’s knowledge, we open ourselves up to business and personal solutions that never seemed possible.

A world of opportunity

For Kevin Ashton, IoT is about opportunity. The opportunity to predict the future and understand how our lives will function, while interpreting the answers to questions we haven’t asked yet and how future generations will communicate, innovate and get the job done.

Fundamentally, making the most of The Internet Of Things is about optimism, tackling modern problems with modern solutions and thinking outside the box.

Kevin Ashton suggests that IoT is just the first step on our technological evolution. He suggests that within five years, most computers won’t have batteries. Within 15 years, very few new cars will have steering wheels, and most of our children and grandchildren will have three-digit life expectancies.

For more ideas and to see the discussion, watch the full conference video on demand.

Find out more about Telstra’s Mobility and IOT solutions.