Disaster! You’ve slept through your alarm! Fortunately, your smart phone notifies your smart watch of the problem, and tells it to wake you up. The phone has also pinged your coffee machine to prepare a coffee to go and contacted UberEats to schedule breakfast to be delivered to work – you’ve no time to eat before you leave. Your wardrobe, meanwhile, has already picked an outfit for you, having recorded all items of clothing you’ve worn in the last week to ensure you don’t wear the same thing twice.

Dressed and with coffee in hand, you jump in the car, which calculates the quickest route to work and identifies the closest parking space available to the office, so you don’t have to waste time and petrol looking for one. The parking metre automatically connects to your car, which connects to your credit card, so you don’t need to buy a ticket.

Once you arrive at work, you pick up a notepad and pen from the stationery cupboard, where you notice the stock is running a little low. Normally it’s your job to ensure supplies are replenished but this time, you don’t need to worry – you’ve just implemented a system where the cupboard records its own stock levels, so an automatic message will already have been sent to the supplier.

It won’t be too long before this kind of scenario becomes the norm – technology is advancing so quickly that soon whole armies of devices will be deployed to mitigate against more than just sleep-in catastrophes. And the principle behind all of it is the Internet of Things

While the internet is generally seen in terms of connecting people to people, or people to things, the Internet of Things imagines the web’s ability to connect devices – one thing to another. Its aim is to create efficiencies by automation, measuring data based on a thing’s usage, consumer behaviour and performance, and then using that data in the decision-making process.

The Internet of Things is already being implemented around the world in the shape of smart cities, smart homes, wearable devices (such as Fitbits and smart watches) and even cars, all collecting data autonomously and streaming it to other devices.

As you can imagine, the ability for things to converse with other things independently will revolutionise industries across the board, especially in terms of how those things are designed. The architecture industry will be no exception – here are four possible ways the Internet of Things will revolutionise the business.

  1. Construction
    Sensors placed on buildings will be able to send data to a Building Information Modelling systems automatically. This data might include patterns of energy use, temperature or people movement throughout a building, enabling architects to identify inefficiencies within the construction and inform future designs.

  2. Infrastructure
    Already smart cities are using the Internet of Things to optimise city operations. This includes monitoring infrastructure efficiency in areas such as traffic flow, water and energy consumption and environmental impact. By analysing the data provided in such areas, urban designers may identify design trends that instruct future planning. Cities that have already implemented these technologies include Dubai, Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York.

  3. Maintenance
    By inputting sensors into construction materials, it will be possible for the materials to self-identify how they behave with the environment over time. If they undergo pressure, tension or stress, they will supply designers with that information, aiding thermal or structural design decisions in the future and helping to predict the need for maintenance operations in existing structures.

  4. The environment
    The Internet of Things is all about creating efficiencies, and one of its main uses will be finding ways in which our interaction with the environment can be more beneficial; for example, identifying unused resources such as water or energy, and shutting down resources in certain areas to avoid unnecessary wastage.

While the Internet of Things will surely create a new world of optimisation impossible to maintain by humans alone, don’t worry – it doesn’t look like you’ll be out of a job anytime soon. Certainly, inanimate things and devices can have the ability to measure data themselves, but it is important to note that they will still need to be fed responses to act upon – and that’s where human analysis comes in. Hand in hand with this vital human input, the Internet of Things could well provide a world of greater efficiencies, and better-informed design decisions; a world that’s just around the corner.

For more examples of how the Internet of Things is revolutionising industries, click here.


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