You can’t escape the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts there will be 200 billion connected devices by 2021, with more than 30 billion being autonomous devices.
Simply put, the IoT is a network of Internet-enabled devices that communicate with one another to understand what we’re doing and operate automatically based on that information.
The first mention of the IoT came from Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer, during a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble in 1999. Here’s how Ashton first explained the IoT:
“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things — using data they gathered without any help from us — we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.”
Technology and devices have come a long way since the first mention of the IoT. For example, Neura can turn on your water heater as you finish your workout so you won’t have to wait for a hot shower. Parents can use Mimo to get real-time audio and insights about their child’s sleep activity. BeClose uses discreet wireless sensors to track your elderly family member’s daily routine.
For me, it’s all about the home. Today, we have many different solutions solving different issues within the house such as Nest for thermostats and now smoke detectors.
I recently purchased an iControl Piper. It’s a very simple camera and sensor platform that allows me to view activities within the house, monitor temperature and humidity, immediately communicate via voice through the camera, and set a variety of alerts and notifications.
Outside of the home, vehicles are a great place to utilize the IoT. I recently networked my car. I installed a custom radar and laser detector that provides the typical warnings. However, it also networks with my phone and provides social alerts based on observations from others. When a policeman is detected, you can send a signal to your social network and everyone in the area is alerted.
And with an increase in connected devices containing sensors and Wi-Fi capability, the Internet becoming more widely available, and the decrease of technology costs, the possibilities for the IoT are endless.
It will automate the mundane and free you from having to think about specific tasks. Motion-detecting thermostats will help you be more efficient in energy use without having to program a device. For the farmer or rancher, they will be able to detect crop or animal health and receive an alert of disease or other issues before they become problematic. Medicine cabinets will automatically reorder your medication when it senses you’re running low, remind you when it’s time to take your medicine and contact your doctor with any issues. Your smart closet can manage your wardrobe by notifying you when it’s time to do laundry and pointing out items you never wear. Your refrigerator will use radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and weight sensors to determine when it’s time to get more milk, and text you with a reminder next time you’re at the grocery store.
While the future of the IoT continues to develop, Dr. John Barrett, Head of Academic Studies at Cork Institute of Technology, does know one thing for certain – “it will change our lives”.
I’m looking forward to the IoT solutions working simply & seamlessly with a solution that doesn’t require a rocket scientist to setup. Which life-changing, connected devices are you looking forward to?