Internet of Actions

The next shift of digital technology

According to Todd Richmond, IEEE Member and Director of USC’s Mixed Reality Lab, the next impactful technology shift is the Internet of Actions (IoA). IoA is the next phase of digital technology in which the human-machine partnership will be taken to a superior level, transforming the way we communicate, consume, work and do business.

As sensing tech, artificial intelligence, and data science advance, they will drive personalization and enable the development of distributed networks of intelligent systems designed to enhance many aspects of human life.

The previous century was revolutionized by a connected world and access to information at the touch of a button. This was with the Internet of Information.

Today, Internet has evolved to create a network of connected devices and systems with the Internet of Things (IoT). It might all feel too difficult to translate if you are really not a tech enthusiast. Let's talk about the much-discussed ‘Smart Cities’. Imagine how the Internet of Things will affect the way your city is run, or how you interact with the government or your environment, is hard without some reference points. Here are a couple of ways the Internet of Things is currently being used, and how it can affect citizens and cities. Smart waste removal is one such example that intends to save money and keep things cleaner through route optimization and better-timed trash pickups. There are several solution providers using IoT to optimize waste management. An example is Covanta, a global leader headquartered in North America. Its Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities offer several communities and businesses across the globe environmentally sound solid waste disposal solutions.

Over the next decade, technological innovation will enable the IoT to enter a new phase, where artificial intelligence and data sensing will create the capacity to transform everything in our world, from the way we experience physical reality to the way we collaborate. This personalized human experience is the foundation of IoA.

The current application of technology lacks human connection such as search algorithms, online commerce, or GPS/navigation. Hence, these are viewed more like tools rather than "partners". This will change in the future.

"Human-machine teaming will be a major area of research and development over the next decade or two, and as algorithms move into literally life-or-death decision making (e.g., autonomous cars), very human reactions will come to the fore."

-Todd Richmond, IEEE Member and Director of USC’s Mixed Reality Lab

IoA is a long-term vision of a digital future in which technology and humans become partners. It will give life to an increasingly mixed-reality world in which algorithms will inextricably be connected to the human decision process.

Collective intelligence or the shared knowledge that emerges from human collaboration enhanced by technology will generate new possibilities changing the business, social and civic landscape. In such a universe, human and machine intelligence will be combined to generate innovative solutions to complex, systemic issues from the environmental emergency to pandemic solutions. Cutting-edge technology can be harnessed to connect a large number of people across multiple locations for scientific research, or collective decision-making in modern democracies.

Chatbots are an excellent example of communication and AI.

"We are seeing an increase of AI and chatbots in e-commerce settings to help buyers make smarter purchases and to enhance the overall customer experience," said Omar Javaid, Chief Product Officer, Vonage. "AI and bots will enhance customer service by leveraging machine learning. Bots can already be trained to answer and respond to simple queries. Over time, Bots will be able to respond to more complex queries, and their ability to solve complex problems will continue to increase, allowing them to interact in more meaningful ways with customers."

So, what does this mean for the business world?

As vital decisions get delegated to technology, businesses will need to focus on research and development of the relationship between humans and technology, think about the impact of self-driving cars. The ability to predict behaviors will transform the way we consume. A predictive economy will help businesses to design better products and services based on neuroscientific data. Business models will be innovated around these consumer trends leading us to a future of equal distribution, accessibility, and zero-waste consumption.


Author: Pranjali Apurva, Chief Innovation Druid, BLVCK PiXEL

BLVCK PiXEL is a Digital Innovation Consultancy headquartered in Paris. We aim to bridge the gap between Technology & Business through Design-led Strategy. Connect with us.



Towards Data Science: IoT-in-action