The Internet of things is a growing and fascinating concept in our evolution of connectivity and the internet. While it may not always seem that way, broadband wifi connectivity is on the rise and data usage charges are dropping.
Technology has been reaching the saturation point where it’s no longer prohibitively expensive to produce some of the things that seemed ridiculous only a few years ago. Smart phones are not just the norm, but are becoming an absolute necessity. The internet of things allows that everything can and should be connected to make things easier.
The thought is that almost everything in your life and house can be connected to you through your smartphone. Things like smart fridges, which allow you to view the inside while you are shopping are a simple example. But the possibilities go so far beyond that.
The internet of things breaks down into three different communications.
- Person to Person contact - This is just like a lot of communication now like texting, emails, etc…
- Person to Thing contact - These are the apps that connect the items in your house to yourself. For the person who checks their security system while away, or the smart fridge or thermostats that change based on the location of the cell phone of the owner.
- Thing to Thing contact - This is where the concept of the internet of things can really take off. This has things monitoring with other things. This creates a web of cascading effects.
A full scale example:
In this example we will imagine full scale integration. Anything mentioned here is connected to wifi or the internet at large. In our example you have to wake up at 8am. You will be travelling to the airport for a 3pm flight internationally so you should be there by noon. As you go to sleep your flight is rescheduled for 1pm. This is where the internet of things comes into play. The alert goes out online and is flagged by your calendar. The calendar connects with your alarm clock and sets it to 6am instead. The alarm clock warns the coffee machine 5 minutes before you wake up that it needs to start brewing for you. Your car starts monitoring traffic for your trip as it already knows the location you are attempting to get to and sends you an alert if things are going to go wrong. Your indoor thermostat knows that you are going to be away for a week and upon your departure sets itself to energy saving mode as you go out the door with your pre-made coffee in your hands.
It’s the kind of thing that’s been a staple in science fiction over the many years. Technology that anticipates without being a true artificial intelligence. Beyond this, the applications to business are incredible. Imagine printers ordering their own supplies. Imagine a streamlining of all employees schedules to ensure maximum efficiency. The possibilities for cities and governments are excellent too. Infrastructure can oftentimes become very bloated. When you need to have thousands of moving parts to get things accomplished, the ability to skip a large amount of those tasks is a great help. Even something as simple as waste management could be greatly improved. The efficiency of the drivers can be helped. The waste bins themselves using sensors to determine if they require changing. They can base it off multiple criteria like weight, time and how full they are.
The internet of things is fascinating and a wonderful ideal. Currently the main problem is thoughts of security. If everything is connected to a singular hub, does this mean your network is breached when your food processor is breached? The point is that everything needs to be connected, but it also needs to be separate for safety reasons. This juxtaposition is currently the main roadblock to the internet of things. Despite this, make no mistake, the internet of things is coming. The future of connectivity is fascinating.