IBM has published its predictions for five big innovations that will change our lives within five years. This is the eighth year that IBM has published its 5 in 5. I find all of these very interesting, but for a couple of them, I am a bit surprised that IBM thinks they could happen within 5 years. On the other hand in the case of one of them, I think it is happening already.
The classroom will learn you
In five years, analytics will help tailor instruction to your individual needs. In the next five years, IBM believes teachers will use “longitudinal data” about student behavior interacting with electronic learning environments. Sophisticated analytics delivered over the cloud will help teachers make decisions about which students are at risk, their roadblocks, and the way to help them.
Buying local will beat online
Online sales exceeded $1 trillion worldwide in 2012. IBM sees online technology becoming available to local physical stores. Retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that online-only retail can’t replicate. Combining on-line and local physical will enable Mom-and-pop stores to offer the same services as the big online retailers but with an immediate physical presence and you won’t have to wait days for shipping. IBM foresees that the technologies that they will use will be as good as anything the online-only retailers offer. IBM suggests that the technology will get so good that online retailers will set up physical retail showrooms to help their own sales.
Doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well
Full DNA testing to help make treatment decisions is rare. But IBM sees that the development of cognitive systems and cloud computing could make this type of treatment mainstream. Technology could enable treatment to be done faster, more frequently and at lower cost. IBM foresees DNA-specific personalized treatment options for conditions such as stroke and heart disease in addition to cancer.
A digital guardian will protect you online
Security is evolving from being based on rules to being automatic and based on a 360 degree view of an individual’s data, devices and applications. Based on your behaviour patterns It will make inferences about what’s a normal activity and identify deviations that might represent an attempt to take advantage of a stolen identity.
The city will help you live in it
Of all of IBM's predictions, this is the one that seems most feasible in 5 years because some of these things cities and utilities are doing already.
Crowdsourcing, mobile applications, sensors and analytics on the cloud will enable cities to better interact with citizens. IBM foresees cities that can respond in real-time, predict problems before they occur, and deliver tailored services. By 2017, the number of smart phones in the world is expected to top three billion. These devices will provide access to city services, but also allow the city to collect data anonymously to look for patterns that will help identify potential problems such as traffic jams. Information will be delivered to smart devices about what is happening in the city, Citizens will be able to use mobile apps for reporting and tracking problems such as pot holes, overflowing drains and broken street lights.
Mobile technologies, sensors, and cognitive systems will make it possible to find patterns. Real-time, big data analytics will enable cities to recognize patterns in the huge volumes of data produced and then learn from their interactions with citizens. IBM sees a new generation of machine learning algorithms and language processing systems will emerge to address those needs.
City leaders will have a direct communication channel to every citizen, allowing city leaders to develop tailored plans for communities and regions, addressing each citizen’s needs in a unique way. Crowdsourcing and social sentiment analytics give city leaders a massive amount of feedback on constituent issues they can take action on. Some municipal governments and utilities are already starting to use Twitter and other social media to interact directly with citizens.
IBM offered another example. Rather than running empty buses on fixed timetables, routes will be tailored to citizen needs. When it rains or when there is a sports event there will be more buses to keep pace with increased ridership. And riders will be notified over mobile apps.
Another example uses sensors to alert sanitation workers as to which waste bins are full on city streets. Even more importantly from an energy conservation perspective, city buildings will learn the patterns of building users and automatically adjust the environment - air conditioning, lighting, and other services in response to how many people are in the building and their activities. Nest thermostats do this already.
IBM sees cities becoming more flexible, more accessible, and less bureaucratic. They are already becoming more open to sharing data. In the future IBM sees citizens having more direct input to community and city planning and receiving direct feedback from city government.