We have been promised some pretty wild things over the years and it looks like we are on the verge of getting some of them.
If you have not yet heard about the Internet of Things (aka IoT) now would be a great time to sit up and listen because more and more manufacturers are making some simple devices “smart” by embedding processors and connecting them to the internet.
So what does that mean to you? It means that we are starting to see common things around us become more capable of monitoring the conditions around them and we are able to see the results of this monitoring and take control of those devices from great distances.
For example, take the humble light bulb. The simplest and most common appliance we have in our homes and businesses. Phillips and LIFX have made smart lighting that allows you to operate your lights using your mobile phone or if you like you can use smart services like IFTTT (ifttt.com) to actually automate your lights.
Imagine going beyond just turning lights on and off to where your lights can automatically turn on when you get home, blink when someone rings your doorbell, gently fade up to wake you in the morning, set your lighting with a simple phrase or even flash in team colours when they score! The applications are limited by your imagination.
This kind of utility does not end at lights either. There are thermostats that will set the temperature of your home or office based on time of day, temperature or simply on demand with a touch of your smartphone. You can control simple appliances like lamps from the other side of the world by using a smart power plug that will control power to the device.
There is even a smart door lock from the likes of Lockwood and Ring that will allow you to unlock a door remotely for guests and tradespeople.
Looking at monitoring, there are connected cameras, motion sensors and door/window sensors to name a few that will alert you or a service to a change in the area and allow you no matter where you are to take the correct action or trigger an action from a service like IFTTT.
Right now you are probably thinking that this is something you want to try but not sure where to start. There are starter packs of course from Phillips and LIFX that will allow you to dip your toes into the IoT pool for less than a couple of hundred dollars or if you are looking to completely fit out your home there are businesses like Intelligent Home that can design, supply and install all the possible IoT tech you could think of.
With an industry projected to be worth Trillions of dollars world wide by 2025 you can bet that everyone is either looking closer or diving in to adding smart things into their product catalogue. Telstra for instance recently launched their Smart Home initiative that packages the hardware and software into a monthly subscription service much like they have done with Smartphones starting at $25/month making the entry into IoT not only easy with the Telstra Smart Home app but very affordable.
However, with every new technology there are new threats with cybercriminals taking advantage of poor security practices like leaving default passwords unchanged on newly deployed products or poorly implemented security. Some companies have started to take IoT security very seriously including Telstra who is investigating technologies like biometrics and the blockchain to secure IoT devices against unauthorised access.
For businesses, IoT presents not only opportunities for innovation of new products but significant savings in operating costs due to better energy management, increased service life of equipment as sensors can be used to monitor for changes in temperature and vibration allowing for more efficient servicing.
The future looks very bright thanks to the Internet of Things.
If you have an IoT product or service that you would like to promote I am available for media appearances or public speaking engagements.