Every second, an average of 127 new things are connected to the Internet. This networked ecosystem of sensors and devices not only includes our smartphones and tablets, but virtually every part of our daily lives — from our cars, to smart appliances in our homes, and schools, to medical devices monitoring our health, to our traffic lights, factory parts, and even our sports equipment.
While the Internet of Things is still in the very early stages of growth, connected devices are already markedly improving our lives, and wireless technology is proving to be a prime driver of economic growth and opportunity. A new Mobile Future infographic depicts the incredible potential of connectivity, highlighting the increasingly ubiquitous role of wireless technology in our day-to-day routines.
The infographic takes us through a day in the life with the Internet of Things — starting with a wake-up call in a home full of smart devices, including Internet-connected lightbulbs, self-adjusting thermostats, and remote door locks. Stunningly, by 2022, a typical family home could contain more than 500 connected smart devices, keeping our homes more secure, our kids safer, while conserving resources, and making daily tasks more convenient than ever.
For those who have a more active daily routine, the infographic tracks the role of connectivity through morning workouts, with 71 percent of Americans reporting that wearable technology has improved their health and fitness. Traffic from these wearable devices is predicted to grow 19-fold from 2014 to 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 80 percent.
Wireless technology is also changing commutes — in 10 years there won’t be a single new vehicle on the road that isn’t connected. The infographic also highlights the potential for cities to reduce energy costs by up to 80% by connecting street lamps.
With 328 million newly connected things emerging each month, demand for airwaves is surging and our nation’s mobile capacity is facing a serious shortage. To fuel this wireless revolution, policymakers must act quickly and decisively to make more spectrum available for mobile technology — especially spectrum held by the federal government. Next year’s broadcast incentive auction is an important step forward, but it is also necessary that we continue to identify underutilized government spectrum that can be repurposed for wireless use. Also critical to solving this demand-versus-capacity challenge is continued investment in ongoing research and development, exploring spectrum sharing techniques and embracing innovative new technologies to increase efficiency.
We are all benefiting from the Internet of (mobile) Things, which is redefining how people and our economy will interact with the many tools of modern life. With countless new connected opportunities ahead, and the continuing evolution to even faster, more capable 5G networks, it is now more critical than ever that our spectrum policies be as smart as the things they are meant to connect.