The Jetsons Were Right About One Thing, And It Wasn’t Flying Cars

futuristic car flying over the city, town. Transport of the future. Aerial view. 3d rendering

The Jetsons had flying cars, but you rarely hear about their widespread usage of IoT connected devices—the robot maid, IoT toothbrushes, digital diary, and even a connected refrigerator/chef. In the 60’s era animated sitcom, George Jetson and his family were surrounded by a plethora of connected devices making their lives easier and more accessible. Maybe they were wrong about flying cars becoming commonplace in the early 21st century, but they were dead right about the usage of connected devices to improve the way we interact with the world around us.

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It’s 2017 and there are almost 10 billion connected devices in use around the world. Just like in the cartoon sitcom, these devices are improving the way we work, communicate, and live. This trend is not only found within the household, but also in large metropolitan areas, factories, vehicles, and even in transportation logistics; the enterprise. Cities are beginning to connect lamp posts, bus stops, train stations, crosswalks, and other infrastructure to better understand and optimize the world around us. Meanwhile, factories are employing more and more connected devices to help optimize manufacturing, packaging, and transportation efficiency. Robots now work together in teams to assemble cars, machine parts, and package goods.

However, a connected system requires these complicated networks of devices to work with each other in a safe and efficient manner. Integration technologies have been the backbone of digital transformation initiatives for almost two decades, and remain at the forefront of the data story. Connected ecosystems require integrations to send and receive data, perform tasks based on outcomes of other tasks, and react to real-time event triggers. However, integrations must be lightweight and reusable in the modern world. Things change too quickly to waste time with heavyweight integration code.

I suspect that the technology companies producing the Jetsons’ connected experience were using some form of cloud-based integration platform, known for ease-of-use and a lightweight footprint. A platform like TIBCO Cloud Integration would allow them to write APIs, connect data, and create the clever integrations we often marveled at in the show. George’s network of systems and devices, all interconnected, helped to improve his experience and that of his family. His costs were driven down by improving the way he interacted with the world and by providing him with necessary information and functionality when it was relevant. His family operated on a digital-first business model. He was able to react to information, access data across platforms, and interact with the world around him using data-producing connected devices.

As the world of connected devices continues to grow, the need for integration grows right along with it. The TIBCO Cloud Integration platform provides a low-code integration platform for easily creating APIs to connect the vast network of devices in the modern enterprise. As systems in factories become more automated, data will become the lifeblood of their operation. Faster, easier-to-consume APIs will help companies become more efficient, while allowing them to innovate beyond traditional business models.

Businesses can benefit from the same luxuries offered to the Jetsons. Not only will APIs and their vast networks of connected devices improve operational efficiency, they will open the door to innovative new business models. Systems will be able to monitor, in real-time, any number of different machines and operations. Public transportation systems can begin communication on a large scale, optimizing routes and reducing traffic during peak hours. Vehicles will be able to report maintenance issues before they occur by interpreting sensor data from a variety of sources to reduce maintenance costs and increase safety. Factories can become more efficient by utilizing connected machinery to improve manufacturing throughput and accuracy.

The Jetsons only scratched the surface of connectivity. The world is just opening up to the connected ecosystem and the possibilities are endless. Maybe there will be flying cars buzzing over major metropolitan areas one day; but one thing is for sure, the city below will contain a web of connected devices, making our lives easier and more efficient each day.