The Internet of Things (IoT) is the communication between devices with sensors that exchange all types of data via the Internet; in other words, it is a huge network of interconnected objects (or things): goods, machines, appliances, buildings, vehicles, animals, people, plants, soil, that will talk to each other and react to each other depending on context and content using their “senses”. It has been called the third wave of the Internet, the next industrial revolution, the next economic big bang, the New Age, the new Eldorado of innovation… the next and new everything.
A few years ago, it would have looked like a scene from a Terminator or Avatar movie, but IoT is no longer science fiction. Since 2011, the IoT Awards initiative has been providing developers and companies with opportunities to showcase their new products and services. In a recent talk for the Harvard Innovation Lab, Chad Jones described how fast the business of IoT is growing, creating the largest technology market ever. Although experts have not been able to agree on an estimate, it is believed that there will be 25 billion devices by 2020 with a market impact of $4.5 trillion ($14.4 trillion according to CISCO) and about 1 trillion devices by 2025.
But, how does Terminology fit into the IoT world? Think of all those products and services that are and will be coming out in the next few years. Translation, globalization, internationalization and localization will be key to the exchange of communication among stakeholders. Language barriers will have to be overcome at a faster pace, and I think we can all see how terminology management will play a key role in this new revolution that will generate massive amounts of technical data that need to be processed in real time.
Data from IoT is impacting every area of life and creating new demands on data collection and data processing. So there is more than just connecting devices and making them smarter. Databases have to be created to extract and store information, translate it, localize it and distribute it in order for those products and services to reach the global community.
From new apps to operation manuals for new devices and, of course, novel games which have proven to be the staging area for innovative technologies and interactions; new IoT standards that will come out from the recently created Open Connectivity Foundation; security protocols that will have to be drawn to manage and control the IoT. Connected service sectors affected by IoT include buildings, energy, consumer and home, healthcare and life science, industrial services, transportation, retail, security and public safety, and IT and networks—the sky is the limit!
Translation agencies and companies are already reaching out to their clients who will probably have to revisit their translation, localization, and terminology management strategies. Jacob Morgan, a contributor at Forbes says that the new rule for the future is going to be “anything that can be connected, will be connected”. I dare say, anything that can be connected, will be translated, and terminology will be at the center of this process. Our challenge will be to manage it quickly, efficiently, and accurately, following strict terminology management standards and using effective terminology management tools and systems.