Picture a world where everything is not only interconnected but also automated. Imagine a pet collar that not only tracks your dog’s location but also notifies you via your smartphone about its hunger, sleep, or health status. Envision a refrigerator that texts you when you’re running low on essential items like eggs and butter.
In such a world, you wouldn’t have to expend much mental energy on mundane tasks; the objects around you would handle that for you. Welcome to the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT). This emerging landscape is evolving rapidly, and it’s high time we delve into what IoT really means.
Understanding the Connections
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a smart network of objects or “things” that can communicate with each other, exchange vital data, and oversee various facets of daily life, all without direct human involvement.
This system emphasizes not on human-machine interactions but on machine-to-machine communications.
Tracing the Origins
Some believe that the roots of IoT can be traced back to the invention of the electric telegraph in 1832.
Others point to Jay B. Nash’s Spectatoritis, where he described “mechanical assistants” that perform various tasks, highlighting their efficiency. Although Nash’s context wasn’t about machines, his words seem prophetic in light of what IoT offers today.
Over the years, several milestones paved the way for IoT: the introduction of the barcode in 1952, the initial wearable computer in 1955 that predicted game outcomes, the inaugural message sent through ARPANET in 1969, a smart beverage dispenser at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982, an identification system using infrared in 1990, and more.
The term “Internet of Things” was eventually introduced by Kevin Ashton, the executive director of the Auto-ID Center. He envisioned a global network of interconnected entities, including humans, for streamlined identification and management – a “standardized method for computers to comprehend the real world.”
The Present Landscape of IoT
As of now, the Internet of Things (IoT) has already started to materialize in ways that align with the visions of innovators and tech pioneers. Many of us may not even be fully aware of its pervasive influence.
With the ultimate goal of integrating various aspects of daily life into actionable, valuable data, an increasing number of companies and applications are adopting the IoT framework.
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Every day, we interact with smart devices equipped with advanced connectivity features. These devices and apps are capable of machine-to-machine communication, user data transmission, and process automation to simplify our lives.
One such application is StreetBump. Commissioned by the city, this app assists road maintenance teams in monitoring road conditions and identifying potholes that require immediate attention.
Another intriguing example is Egg Minder, a “smart egg carton” that not only keeps track of your egg inventory but also determines which egg is the oldest.
Yet another innovation is Droplet, which calculates the optimal water amount for plants based on factors like atmospheric conditions, soil quality, and even the plants’ genetic makeup.
Almost every sector is gravitating towards IoT, from environmental monitoring and energy management to healthcare and home automation. The focus is on revolutionizing the methods of data collection and processing.
In conclusion, IoT is gaining significant traction, particularly after making headlines at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Experts predict a future where homes are filled with microchip-equipped objects and appliances. Only time will reveal if this vision will become a reality.
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Innovators in IoT
Tech companies are leading the charge in ensuring that the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a reality. These pioneers across various sectors are committed to making everything interconnected.
This commitment was evident at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where companies showcased innovations like autonomous cars, smart ovens with recipe guides and cooking tutorials, among other captivating technologies.
Let’s take a look at some of these trailblazers.
Emiota is a French startup specializing in wearable technology for health and wellness. Their mission is to create wearable accessories that empower individuals to better understand their own bodies for enhanced well-being. They aim to accomplish this not just by inventing new products, but also by enhancing existing wearables.
Despite having a small team of fewer than 10 people, they made a significant impact at CES 2015 with the introduction of Belty. This smart belt collects activity data from its wearer and automatically adjusts to fit the user’s waistline.
Founded in 2010, Snaptracs, Inc. specializes in GPS tracking systems for a diverse array of products, including toys, apparel, and household items. They are particularly known for their wearable tracking devices designed for pets. The company aims to merge pet care and technology to improve pet management and enhance safety.
At CES 2015, they unveiled Tagg GPS Plus Pet Tracker, a smart pet collar that syncs with a smartphone app for tracking.
myBrain Technologies, a French startup, positions itself as closely aligned with medical and research communities. They focus on creating real-time tools for assessing human mental states through brain activity measurement. Their mission is to reduce daily mental stress using non-invasive wearable technology.
The company plans to introduce Melomind, an EEG headset that pairs with a smartphone to provide biofeedback for relaxation.
Smarter Applications, Ltd.
Smarter Applications is a London-based tech startup with a singular focus: to address the frustrations of coffee and tea enthusiasts worldwide. Their product, Smarter Coffee Kettle, allows users to manage the brewing process via a smartphone app.
It’s safe to say that the excitement for IoT’s potential is widespread. Companies like Samsung are even anticipating a future where every household item, from beds to refrigerators, will autonomously collect and analyze data to simplify your tasks and life.
Further Reading 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 Enthusiasts
Information technology research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that, come 2020, about 26 billion IoT devices will be operational across the globe.
In an article on how this emerging behemoth of technology will affect commercial and process-driven interactions, Forbes predicts that the IoT will “shake up retail in 2015,” using automated programming to handle home management, supply replenishment, and others in ways that, up until recently, were only the stuff of science fiction.
We are finally at a point where we can begin to embrace the full integration of technology into our every day processes. And while it is still impossible for us to predict where the road towards IoT will take us, these smarter machines were developed to improve the overall quality of modern life – is there any reason for us to stop this from happening?