The Internet of Things Empowers Us All
The Internet of Things has been a buzzword for years, and decade old Minority Report has been referenced by every business as the future of interaction between people and things. We no longer have to imagine a world where links are made between technology. People regularly use mobile devices, televisions, gaming machines, and the internet interchangeably. And with the price of technology becoming cheaper, it’s beginning to make economical sense to connect ‘Things’.
It all started 20 years ago under the name Ubiquitous computing: a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear everywhere and anywhere. In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and in any format. The impact on our lives and businesses will be disruptive as we will track, measure, connect everything… In, on, and around things.
Still confused by Internet of Things? Here are some examples of well known companies leveraging technology:
Nest – Possibly the most recognizable of smart, connected home devices to date, the Nest thermostat allows users to control their home’s temperature from their smartphone or tablet, while also helping customers save on their energy bills. The company is releasing a suite of other home automation products like a fire alarm, and linking to other technologies like FitBit.
Ford – The automotive maker is investing in new business models and partnerships that include Zipcar-like ridesharing, and Uber-esque on-demand services. Its AppLink platform allows users to connect to apps through voice recognition, and Ford has ambitions to give drivers the ability to pre-order Starbucks or automatically pay for gas.
Ralph Lauren – The clothing company’s Polo Tech Shirt streams athletic performance biometrics like heart rate, movement intensity and energy output to the cloud. One could easily imagine integrations with FitBit and Nike+ to give the wearer a unified experience of their athletic performance.
And a few lesser known examples…
Babolat – The French tennis, squash, and badminton company has created a product system that puts sensors and connectivity into its tennis racquet. The Play Pure Drive system allows athletes to track and analyze ball speed, spin, and impact location to improve their game.
GlowCaps – GlowCaps use light, sound, and even text notifications to remind you when to take your medication. When it’s time for a refill, simply push the button at the base of the GlowCap, and a refill request will be sent to your pharmacy through AT&T Mobile Broadband Network.
Parksight – Parking can make or break your day. Fortunately, Parksight 2.0 has changed how you store your means of transportation from a free-for-all guessing game to a cut-and-dry GPS app. Parking lot sensors identify the presence of a vehicle, relaying the information to the cloud. Now you can pinpoint the open spots, thus greatly reducing the all-too-familiar chaos of the parking lot scramble.
Sightmachine – Maintains the quality and consistency of manufacturing processes. Sightmachine uses networked sensors, cameras, lasers, and continual data processing to identify the current condition of a machine part.
Jon Dodge, EVP, Business Development