The Internet of Things

We have all heard about the next Wave in technology – the Internet Of Things. As the name implies, this refers to the stage where our all devices – not just our smart phones or iPads but also our TVs, refrigerator, washing machine, vacuum cleaner gain ability to communicate with each other and to our PC’s. The earliest Internet of Things meant embedding materials with RFID tags. The tags could then communicate with a server which made it easier to maintain inventories, track the material, have low stock warnings and so on. Now however, Internet of Things has taken on a much wider meaning including Smart Cities, Smart Electricity Grids, and so on. Smart implying that it can change behavior depending on certain variables. For instance, a Smart Electricity Grid can reduce electricity grid can reduce supply to an area if it knows that most of the households in that area are empty at say, noon.

The first really good consumer product which truly qualifies as Internet of Things is the NEST learning thermostat. The NEST thermostat ‘learns’ your schedule over a week or so – when are you home, when do you feel hottest, coldest, what is your electricity bill, and so on. Once it ‘learns’, the temp changes are done automatically. The thermostat also guides you on electricity saving using your bill and usage patterns. It will tell you to ‘Increase temp by 1 C to save $10’ and so on. You can also log on to the Mobil eApp and control your home temp from your office. So maybe cool the home before you get there?

The other interesting Internet of Things I found recently was a Smart Milk Jug! The concept was pitched in the Quirk and GE contest that challenged participants to come up with way to integrate communication abilities (and leveraging them) to everyday objects. This Smart Jug has pH and temperature sensors in its base. These sensors detect if the milk is going sour by turning the green light to Orange. The sensors communicate to Smart Base at the bottom of the jug and the base immediately sends an sms/notification to the user. So maybe stop by the grocery store before you reach home? Oh yes, It will also tell you if you are running low on milk.

I can’t wait to get to that day where I can switch on the boiler, prepare coffee, cool my room , and heat up the meal –  all before I reach home!!!! I think it will take my laziness quotient to the next level!

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