February 28, 2014
When we talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) we are talking about connecting everyday objects to the internet via low power signals. Kevin Ashton is credited with coining the phrase and being one of the first to write about the concept. He discusses how humans are great at doing many things, but capturing clean and accurate data about events happening in real time in the real world is not one of them. This ability to capture large amounts of data about everyday usage of everyday things is what makes the IoT such a powerful innovation.
It means that big data not only applies to presidential elections and the center for disease control. With the Internet of Things, big data applies to parking meters microwaves, and taxi-cabs. Being left to computers, big data up until now has been all about Google searches, Amazon queues, and Netflix recommendations. Picture the Internet of Things as a car dashboard for every appliance you own. Do you want to see how much energy your washing machine is burning versus how much you actually need to wash those towels? Does a manufacturer benefit from getting real time analytics on the usage of their products rather than depending on focus groups? The answer is “yes,” and IoT makes this possible.
One of the issues surrounding the Internet of Things is the positive impact it can have on the environment. Innovation opens doors previously hidden behind cement walls. For example, your refrigerator can run on less power depending on the number of times it’s opened per day; however there isn’t currently a mechanism or control panel to make this happen. What if your shower head could control water output based on a price you set for a monthly water bill? It’s easy to see ways in which this technology can have a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions and usage of natural resources.
There was a time when the only people to own computers were the companies trading on the S&P 500. The barrier to entry (price) dropped significantly and soon enough every home in the US had a personal computer. Think of cloud computing too. Dropbox and Google Drive make it possible for individuals and businesses big and small to store huge amounts of data on a virtual cloud. The Internet of Things will become available to consumers and enter homes the same way.
Previously, supply chain management for large companies used expensive RFID tagging systems and inventory control, but these systems were not available to smaller companies. With the growth and soon to be accessibility of the IoT, small businesses can have inventory management systems mimicking large corporations and manufacturers. With the ability to tag products without having to purchase software costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, businesses will use a simple dashboard, most likely connected to the cloud. It will improve efficiency across the board.
The IoT is growing quickly, and the Android OS is evolving right alongside it. Read more about the relationship between Android and the Internet of Things on our main site.