10 Things That Will Become Obsolete Thanks to the IoT


The Internet of Things is changing so many aspects of our daily lives that’s it’s almost hard to keep up. While many of these changes seem small, when you take them all together, it becomes clear that we are on the verge of a monumental shift in how we work, play, and manage simple, everyday tasks.

In fact, thanks to technology and the IoT, it won’t be long before many of the items that we use on a regular basis will become obsolete. Consider these items that are not too far away from going the way of the dinosaur.

1. Physical Payment Methods
Most of us have grown used to using plastic — either credit or debit cards — to make purchases. In fact, according to a Gallup poll, only about 24 percent of Americans use cash to make most or all of their purchases. However, thanks to the IoT, soon we won’t even use plastic either. Mobile payment methods like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Google Wallet are quickly gaining acceptance, and it’s very likely that within the next few years, they will be the dominant forms of payment across the board.

2. Remote Controls
Studies show that the average household has at least three to four remote controls to operate everything from home entertainment and gaming systems to heating and cooling. Keeping track of those remotes can be a challenge, and most people find the devices more cumbersome than necessary. Thanks to the IoT, remotes are likely to become obsolete, with our homes controlled instead by a single hub operated via a mobile device. We’re already seeing that shift with devices like the Roku, which can turn your phone into a remote by downloading the app.

3. Physical Entertainment
Despite sales of e-books declining somewhat in 2016, there’s no denying that digital media is on the rise. When was the last time that you purchased a physical CD, or a DVD? Streaming services are by far the more popular option, as more than half of American households subscribe to at least one streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, with a growing number subscribing to more than one service. With the availability of so many options for streaming or electronic media, don’t be surprised to see physical products to become rarities. 

4. Keyboards
Most of us use keyboards to some extent, but that’s likely to change with improving speech to text technology. We’re already seeing more voice-activated products on the market, such as the Amazon Echo, and that technology is likely to extend to computers and other devices, eliminating the need to type at all.

5. Keys
Much like remote controls, keys are a necessity, but they are easily lost, and not always the most secure option. Computer-controlled security systems for homes, businesses, and cars are becoming more common, eliminating the need for a physical key. While RFID cards aren’t anything new, biometric scanners, facial recognition technology, and remote locking and unlocking capabilities via app are new and exciting, and will make keys obsolete.

6. External Storage Devices
The rise of the cloud and inexpensive, convenient storage services have all but eliminated the market for external hard drives and other portable storage methods. Why risk the loss or theft of data from an easily misplaced thumb drive when you can access all your files via the cloud from anywhere?

7. Service Workers
Would you like fries with that? Soon, you won’t be hearing that from a teenager behind a counter, but will be placing your order via touchscreen for it to be filled by robots. We’re already seeing this technology moving into some restaurants, where you can order your food and pay via a touchscreen device on the table. For now, we still need humans to bring the orders and cook the food, but it’s very possible for those tasks to be done by machines in the future.

8. Personal cars
Self-driving cars are on the horizon, and some predict that eventually they will replace public transportation and become the dominant form of transport for everyone. Already, apps that allow for ride sharing (like Uber) or car sharing are eliminating the need for people to own or drive cars, and self-driving cars will only increase the number of people who give up their wheels.

9. Plows
Sensor-driven technology is already changing agriculture, allowing farmers and home gardeners to better care for their plants and increase yields. However, an increasing number of farmers are also cutting down on plowing, due to the impact on the soil, and instead using high-tech methods of planting seeds that don’t require “turning the soil.” Combined with new methods of growing such as aquaponics, it’s likely that plows will soon be little more than a part of history.

10. Paper Documents
Finally, all these developments are also contributing to the decline of paper. More businesses than ever before are going paperless, eliminating or significantly reducing paper usage in the office. From cloud storage to electronic faxing and document management systems to online billing, there’s little reason for anyone to be using much paper anymore.

These are just some of the advances taking place thanks to the IoT. With new discoveries taking place every day, there’s no telling what the next decade or two will look like. All we know is that the world as we know it is changing in new and exciting ways.  

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