Our world now moves so fast that we seldom stop to see just how far we have come in just a few years. The latest iPhone 6s, for example, has a dual-core 1.8GHz processor and fits nicely into your pocket. By comparison, you would expect to find a technological specification like this on your standard laptop in an office anywhere in the world .

It’s no wonder that new applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) are moving ahead fast when almost every new device we buy that has a plug on the end of it or a wireless connection to the internet. Soon, our current smartphone lifestyle will expand to create our own smart home lifestyle too.

Our research, along with others including Gartner, concur that close to 25 billion devices, things and sensors will be connected by 2020 which incidentally is also the moment that Millennials are expected to make up 75 percent of our overall workforce, and the fully connected home will become a reality for large numbers of people worldwide.

However, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as smart buildings and even cities increasingly become the norm as leaders and business owners begin to wake-up to the massive savings that technology can deliver through connected sensors and new forms of automation coupled with intelligent energy and facilities management.

Online security cameras, intelligent lighting (LED) and a wealth of sensors that control both temperature and air quality are offering an unprecedented level of control, efficiency, and improvements to what were once classed necessary costs when running a business or managing a large building.

We can expect a dramatic rise in IoT systems infrastructure to ensure that the ever growing list of devices, systems and environments remain connected, always online and talking to each other. The big benefit will be not only in the housing of this colossal and rapidly growing amount of data, but will also be in the ability to run real time data analytics to extract actionable and on going knowledge.

The biggest and most exciting challenge of this technology is how to creatively leverage this ever growing amount of data to deliver cost savings, improvements and tangible benefits to both businesses and citizens of these smart cities.

There is a massive opportunity to provide big-data building analytics with a single unified system where the data from all of these connected devices can be analyzed and fed into user-friendly dashboards to transform the way we both live and do business.

The good news is that most of this technology is already invented. Let’s face it, it wasn’t too long ago that the idea of working from anywhere and at anytime was some form of a distant utopian dream, and yet now we can perform almost any office based task from any location in the world as long as we have access to an internet connection.

Archaic machine-to-machine standards and platform silos have held back progress for far too long, but now we are finally asking the important questions such as why can’t we have the information we need most now find us, instead of us having to find it? And why can’t we get it delivered in the form we prefer in a personalized way? Of course, there is still a good amount of work to get through and hurdles to jump over before we arrive at this destination, but the fact that these questions are not only being asked but are being aggressively worked on tells you what path we are on.

There is an ongoing and considerable investment in obtaining meaningful information through data analytics that should put a stop to the feeling of drowning in a sea of scrambled data. As these historical barriers and conflicts get broken down and we embrace our collaborative future that provides us all with the much-needed ability to move forward faster, I believe the final pieces of this jigsaw are close to slipping into place.

Its time to wake up to the fact that making smart buildings, cities and homes will dramatically increase our quality of life in the years ahead.