The Internet of Things (IoT) is generally thought of as connecting things to the Internet and using that connection to provide some kind of useful remote monitoring and control. This definition of IoT is limited and references only part of the IoT evolution. It is, at best, a rebranding of the existing Machine to Machine market of today. But that is not what IoT is.
The Internet of Things is best defined as, ‘An intelligent, invisible network fabric that can be sensed, controlled, and programmed. IoT-enabled products incorporate embedded technology that allows them to communicate, directly or indirectly, with each other or the Internet’.
The IoT Of Today. Disjointed at Best!
The IoT of today is in its infancy. Manufacturers have already connected a million things such as thermostats, energy meters, lighting control systems, music streamer, video boxes, pool systems, and irrigation systems with more to come. Most of these systems have some connectivity through a website so that a user can manage them through a standard web browser or a smartphone app. But this is just connectivity and disjointed at best. The cream of the pudding is when these ‘things’ start working together.
The IoT Of Tomorrow. Take A Dreamy Ride!
IoT has just started evolving. It will be foolish to say what will happen tomorrow. But let us imagine a scenario.
You book a ticket from London to Paris on the Eurostar. A confirmation comes to you on your mobile phone that shows the coach and seat number. This happens today. Let us take this one step forward.
When you book your train ticket, a message is sent to the cab service blocking a taxi for you. Depending upon where you live and live traffic feed, the cab driver is instructed to arrive to pick you up at the appropriate time. As the cab nears your home, you get a message on your phone with a snap of the driver, the cab’s license number and other details. When you get into the cab, a message reaches the train service that you are on your way to the station. At the station, you get off the cab, and the taxi fare is debited to your account automatically.
When you enter the station, the platform number and the coach position is sent to you. A route map is shown to you to reach your coach. When you enter the coach and take your seat, the ticket examiner gets a message you have arrived. Your entertainment preferences are loaded, and the movie of your choice is shown to you. As the train starts moving, your spouse gets a message that you are your way to Paris. In a little while, the on board caterer serves you your choice of food and drinks.
When you arrive in Paris, a taxi is waiting for you, and your phone guides you to where the taxi is parked.
The hotel where you have a reservation knows you have left the station and are on your way. As your taxi rounds the corner of the road where the hotel is, the hotel staff get ready to welcome you. Motion and temperature sensors on your wrist watch transmit you current condition to the hotel system.
Your designated room in the hotel is ready but in a dormant stage. The lights are off, drapes closed, and temperature optimized to save energy. As you near the hotel, the HVAC in your room kicks in, and heats or cools the room to be at the exact temperature you like when you enter the room.
When you arrive at the Hotel, the valet opens the cab door and welcomes you by name. When you enter the lobby, a secure room key is sent to your phone. By the time you reach the elevator, all check-in formalities are completed.
When you reach near your room, the door lock senses your presence and opens the door. As you enter, your favourite song is played on the system, and the TV locks on to your favourite news channel.
When you settle for the day, sensors on your wristwatch will watch your heartbeat. When you get into bed, and start feeling drowsy, the TV will be switched off, the lights dimmed, and the volume of music reduced. The room temperature will be adjusted to your sleep preferences.
Data, Data, And More Data
Welcome to the world where you live in the data.
The question that should come to your mind is how the system knows your preferences. Are you supposed to enter all these details? Absolutely not.
These preferences are created by the system over a period of time, based on your behaviour at home and elsewhere. The movies, the TV shows, the news channel you watch are all kept track of. The songs you listen to give information to the system what genre of music you like, and who your favourite artist is. The setting you use on your HVAC at home is kept track of. Over a period of time, a complete database of your preferences is built and is used where needed.
What About Privacy?
Are you frightened you have lost your privacy? Maybe. At the same time, imagine the comfort you get wherever you go. There could be a quid pro quo. You lose something and gain something else. Of course, you always have the choice to cut yourself off from everything and go back to doing everything manually. If you don’t want to be that drastic, you can filter the amount of data that will be collected. The services you get will depend upon the quantum of data collected.
I am more than ready for all this if the hotel TV shows the latest episode of my favourite TV show – Arrow – as I snug into bed after a hearty meal. I am dying to know if Oliver Queen becomes the Mayor or not.
Sosaley Technologies is a growing company leading in the development of firmware, embedded systems, and other automation hardware and software. Sosaley is led by industry veterans who have pioneered software development in India, and have worked with companies such as Juniper Networks, Citibank, and many other Fortune 500 companies.