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Imagine a world where everything is not just connected, but also automated. A world with a pet collar that not only lets you know where your dog is, but also lets you know via your smartphone if your furry friend is hungry, sleeping or sick. A world with a refrigerator that texts you, saying you’ve almost run out of eggs and butter.
A world where you won’t even have to think or worry much about things. where things think for you, welcome to the Internet of Things (IoT). It is a new environment that is constantly taking shape around us, even as you read this. Let’s get to know IoT.
Connecting the dots
Simply put, IoT belongs to an “intelligent” network of objects (“Things”) that can to interact one with the other, send crucial information back and forth, and monitor all aspects of daily life, all no need for direct human intervention.
It is a system that focuses less on how we communicate with machines and vice versa, and more on how machines communicate with each other.
Some may argue that, believe it or not, the first threads of the IoT web were woven around the time the electric telegraph was born in 1832.
Others may quote Jay B. Nash in Spectatoritis, where he wrote about “mechanical slaves” who “start our car; run our engines; polish our shoes and cut our hair,” and how they “practically eliminate time and space with their own speed ”.
(Of course, Nash wasn’t really writing about machines – in fact, his book had absolutely nothing to do with them, but his words hauntingly echoed what the IoT would eventually bring to the table.)
As the years passed, more progenitors and building blocks of the IoT began to take shape: the beginning of the Barcode in 1952, the first laptop – who predicted the results of roulette – in 1955, the first message shipped via ARPANET in 1969, a clever Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982, a badge set which transmitted a person’s location via infrared in 1990, and so on.
Over time, Auto-ID Center CEO Kevin Ashton coined the term “Internet of Things,” which illustrates the concept of a global system of interconnected objects (and even people) to facilitate identification and management, a “standardized way for computers to understand the real world.”
The current state of affairs
Yet right now, IoT as we define it, and as imagined by the innovators and pioneers of the technology, has already begun to take shape, in ways that we are not even aware of.
With the singular goal of combining all aspects of a person’s everyday life into useful and measurable information, more and more companies and applications are embracing the IoT approach.
On a daily basis, we use smart devices with advanced connectivity functions and applications, capable of communicating from machine to machine, transmitting user data and automating processes to make our lives easier.
An example of such an app is StreetBump, a city-commissioned app that help road maintenance crews control the streets Y keep track of potholes that should be covered immediately.
Another unique example is the fascinating Egg Minder, a “smart egg carton” that not only checks how many eggs you have left in the fridge, but also identify which of them is the oldest.
A third wonder is Droplet, which calculates the perfect water dose for plants according to the atmospheric conditions, the richness of the soil and even the genetic information of the plants.
Virtually every field and industry these days is moving towards IoT: from environmental monitoring to energy management, healthcare systems, and even building and home automation, everything is gearing up for. change the way data collection and processing is handled.
In short, IoT is really starting to gain momentum, especially after attracting so much attention at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Experts say this will lead to a house full of microchipped appliances and objects; only time can tell with certainty if that future will be fulfilled.
Motivators and thinkers
However, tech companies seem quite determined to make sure that this is the case. Pioneers in various fields looking to capitalize on the growing IoT trend are at the forefront to ensure that everything is connected.
This was made crystal clear at CES, where companies featured self-driving cars, smart ovens displaying recipes, and how-to videos for cooking and other fascinating technologies.
Here are some of them.
Emiota is a French startup focused on wearable technology for health and wellness, with a mission to develop wearable accessories that can help people better understand their bodies for their well-being. They want to achieve this not by inventing new accessories, but also by improving the things that people currently wear.
While their team is comprised of no more than 10 people, they were already quite successful at CES when they presented Belty, a smart belt that collects data from your user based on activity, or lack thereof. It also adjusts itself according to the user’s waist.
Snaptracs, Inc., founded, focuses on developing GPS tracking systems for a wide range of products: toys, T-shirts, coffee mugs, baseball caps and, in particular, portable pet tracking devices. It is one of the few companies whose goal is to combine the pet and technology industries to better management of pets and to ensure safety.
At CES, they introduced the Tagg GPS Plus Pet Tracker, a “smart” pet collar that connects to a smartphone app.
The French startup myBrain Technologies describes itself as a company “closely linked to the medical and research communities”, with a focus on developing “tools for real-time assessment of human mental states by measuring activity cerebral”. Your goal is relieve mental stress that people experience every day through non-invasive wearable technology.
myBrain is configured to offer consumers Melomind, an EEG earphone that connects to a smartphone to send biofeedback to the user and help them relax.
Smarter Applications, Ltd.
Smarter Applications is a London-based tech startup whose sole purpose, for now at least, is to solve the annoyances of coffee and tea drinkers around the world. Smarter Coffee Kettle allows its users to control the brewing process through a smartphone app.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that almost everyone seems to be excited about the potential of IoT. Companies like Samsung even count on the day when everything in your home, from your bed to your refrigerator, automatically collects and analyzes relevant data to make your tasks (and your life) easier.
More on smart technologies:
- 20 gadgets that make your smartphone even smarter
- 9 smart car technologies we want to see
- 5 smart road technologies of the future
- 10 cool fitness gadgets for health junkies
Information technology research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that, in the future, about 26 billion IoT devices will be operational worldwide.
In an article on how this emerging technology giant will affect business and process-based interactions, Forbes predicts that the IoT will “shake up retail,” using automated scheduling to handle household management, supply replenishment, and others in ways that, until recently, were just science fiction stuff.
We are finally at a point where we can begin to embrace the full integration of technology into our day-to-day processes. And while it is still impossible for us to predict where the path to IoT will take us, these smarter machines were developed to improve the overall quality of modern life – Is there any reason for us to prevent this from happening?
Final words: A Crash Course on The Internet of Things (IoT)
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