The Internet of Things – also known as Machine to Machine but most commonly described as “an ecosystem of technologies monitoring the status of physical objects, capturing meaningful data, and communicating that information through IP networks to software applications”. – See more at: http://blog.atlasrfidstore.com/internet-of-things-and-rfid#sthash.89FeGYhk.dpuf Sounds a little bit like that nightmare scenario where the computers take over. (Kubrick’s space station computer,Hal, was early to that game!). But let’s not panic yet; this term is less worryingly more concerned with building links between devices, often via Bluetooth or Wi Fi to enable a degree of automation to daily chores. phew, that’s all right then.
What is it in everyday terms ? In a simple form this is the remote Bluetooth speaker playing music that you hold in your phone. More and more people are enjoying the benefit of a wrist band linked to an app again by Bluetooth, which monitors various measurable to display as output on your mobile phone. Fitness tracking apps abound! (as does increased obesity… ).
Extending the concept into Home automation is more than a mere ambition.
Home automation, a term that has become increasingly popular in the mansions of Mayfair where the mundane task of opening a pair of heavy drapes (I dare not stoop to call them curtains) is no longer reliant on the mind and muscle of a human being. It no longer relies on a human being even being in the building. Open your app, choose a room and manipulate various aspects including the aforementioned drapes.
Google snapped up Nest Labs recently for a handsome £1.9 billion, giving them a foot in to door to this sphere of activity. Nest are currently looking at many more ways to join devices in the home via this technology, from security systems to health tracking. More recently, news emerged that Google are about to launch a “smart tracking system” to enable the user to be alerted to the vicinity of specified people, places, shops etc. Google Nearby is set to be standard on new Android handsets and will compete directly with Apples Homekit and iBeacon smart shopping system.
The Google app will use the phone’s GPS, Bluetooth and even microphone to work out location of the user and then automatically trigger commands – for instance, waiting for the user to issue instructions such as ‘open the garage door’ but only when in close proximity to that particular door, or automatically turn on the lights when the user is close enough to the house in question. The system is expected to work with appliances such as Google’s own Nest smart thermostat to enabling a user to adjust temperature without anything more complex than a voice command.
The key point to notice in all this is that many of the big names in technology are heavily investing and this signifies a belief in and the inevitable increasing application of this technology in this environment. It’s going to grow increasingly pervasive. Apple have announced their forthcoming Homekit at its Worldwide Developers Conference. This system will perform numerous domestic tasks such as unlocking doors, turning on lights via the iPhone. That’s a relief I am sure!.
For the moment its worth acknowledging that the world is on the cusp of a revolution, a change driven by miniaturisation and computing advances which will deliver noticeable changes to the way we live, even if its only that we don’t have to move our increasingly obese behinds from the sofa in order to draw the curtains. The more significant consideration which will come as a secondary outcome is that these digital devices and their interconnectivity with servers and databases will begin to generate masses of data from day one. Imagine having that level of micro knowledge about the behaviour of …well most of us. But perhaps we should save that thought for now and concentrate on the matter in hand… the ahhh… World Cup, ….now, where did I put the beer…er.. the remote? What do you mean its all over?…who? Germany! Doh!!! well in that case, Vorsprung durch technik and all that.