Change & Safety in the Internet of Things
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a relatively new term for inter-networking of physical devices which are connected to the internet — it’s a term used for “smart things”. There was a time in which our phones were not smart, our TVs were not smart, our cars didn’t talk to satellites or to other cars, and our politicians… actually, let’s not talk about that. “Things,” in the IoT sense, can refer to a wide variety of devices from heart monitoring implants and biochips to home heating systems and even clothes. Now so much of our lives are intertwined and connected in some sort of way as an effort to make our lives easier. Let’s look at how our lives have changed as a result.
Change in Sports
When we look at how football has changed over the years, we are often amazed at how far we have progressed — not just the game, but the technology used in a game has grown in big ways. Recently, the NFL has tagged about 2,000 players with RFID tags in their shoulder pads and approximately 18 stadiums with receivers. These tags track a player’s location, speed, and performance for better analysis that is available in real time. This is especially helpful for replays that are used for calling close-calls. It is also available to fans in the NFL app that is available on Xbox and Windows 10. While you would imagine that athletes may not want this sort of information available, the exact opposite is true. The players wearing them are quite excited and it appears they use them to look for ways to improve their skills.
IoT can greatly facilitate the implementation of environmental monitoring, with sensors, aiding in the monitoring air or water quality, atmospheric or soil conditions, and can even include areas like monitoring the movements of wildlife and their habitats. It’s not just that the new technology opens new paths for environmental monitoring, but it also makes it much cheaper.
The Smart Kitchen
LG is now bringing us a kitchen that can be communicated with through apps. Imagine the ability to use an app that changes your oven temperature, has your ice maker make more ice, and alert you when it’s time to change the air filter in your refrigerator. Sounds like something coming straight from The Jetsons? Maybe so but the technology is here! It isn’t limited to just the kitchen either. LG also has developed heating & cooling units and washers that can be controlled remotely through their app. Now you can make sure the house is heated or cooled to your liking before you even get home from work.
What About our Safety?
We continue to see that many alarm systems and surveillance cameras are controlled through apps on our smart phones and we will continue to see that trend grow. Beyond that, we need to pay attention to our own safety when all our appliances are becoming more connected as time goes by. The reality is, the technology will eventually make it to everything and anything. Companies may not even tell you when they have put in connectivity in a product. While it’s great that we have products that simplify our lives, we still must remain diligent in understanding which products share information, what information they are sharing, and how that information is shared.
The Internet of Things is already being integrated in energy management. Just think, you leave home, do you leave the heater on? Then you waste energy. Do you leave it off? Then it’s cold when you get back. You can set it to start for a fixed hour, but more often than not you don’t exactly know when you get back. With the IoT, you can program it in real time, via your phone or any internet device, thus saving a lot of money and energy.
We are likely to see a lot of growth over the years in connectivity in our everyday products. Stay on top of whether the product does add value to your life and avoid those products that truly do not contribute to an easier life. Make sure you know what is being shared and who can see it. Make sure you check to see if any product has trackability and why. If it’s just to track what you do and how you do it, is that something you really need in your life? Most importantly, enjoy those products that make your life easier. That’s what they are there for!