[Weekender] IoT to bring winds of change

By Park Hyung-ki
  • Published : May 9, 2014 - 21:45
  • Updated : May 9, 2014 - 21:45
An Oracle yacht that uses IoT technology (Oracle)
A man walks into a clothing store and sees customized advertisements based on his shopping data as soon as he gets his eyes scanned.

This scene is from Hollywood blockbuster “Minority Report” but a similar situation could soon become reality thanks to the Internet of Things.

Cisco Systems, the U.S. networking equipment giant, said people can already get a similar experience.

“If you use, for example, Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experience, what happens is, if you walk into a mall, because of Wi-Fi, they (retailers) will be able to identify you. And they will be able to know where you are in the mall, what you’re looking at and provide customized information for you,” John Apostolopoulos, chief technology officer of Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group, said at a recent press conference.

With the emergence of mobile technology, the IoT can help all industries offer consumers more tailored and comfortable services.

Data received and processed via sensors embedded in gadgets could help, for instance, a baseball player to improve his batting average, or help retailers send discount coupons that match customers’ tastes.

And importantly, the IoT not only allows people to enjoy more convenience, but also allows faster and more efficient responses to disasters like the Sewol ferry sinking, or can even prevent them.

“If the ship had IoT technology, all of its facilities would have been equipped with sensors. The ship could then immediately detect any anomalies and alert the crew, passengers and the control center,” said Kim Seong-cheol a professor at Korea University’s School of Media and Communication.

“The technology can enhance the overall quality of life, from child safety, finding missing people and keeping an eye on criminals, to checking for malfunctions in public facilities.”
An Oracle Team USA member monitors a portable device on his wrist. The device receives information from hundreds of sensors embedded in the team’s yacht. (Oracle)

Also, Oracle, the U.S. database management systems developer, has shown the IoT’s usefulness in sports during a yacht race in 2013.

The Oracle sponsored team secured victory as each member was able to receive and analyze data, which allowed them to efficiently carry out their roles.

“We can create new value through machine-to-machine connections and big data analytics,” said Choi Yoon-seok, Oracle Korea’s senior director in charge of IoT and wearable technologies.

Although experts agreed that the technology will bring comfort, the public must prepare for drastic societal changes, as the machine-to-machine environment will likely increase interactions between machines, and decrease them between humans.

“The people researching the IOT are only talking about convenience, as if that is the ultimate goal,” said professor Lee Duck-hwan of Sogang University’s science communication department.

“We need to closely look at a society where we may not be in control. No one can stop this technological wave, but we have to seriously think about what we can do to prepare for such a change.”

By Yoon Min-sik (