In other words, it’s anything that can be equipped with a chip that talks to other “things” (also equipped with chips) across wireless networks. We’re already in an early phase of the IoT today–our mobile phones communicate with other devices as we call, text and surf the Web all day long
As more advanced smart “things” emerge (think Google Glass, driverless cars, home automation and smart clothes), one can’t help but wonder: what will facilitate the immense transfer of data required to power the IoT? Where will all of this data be stored? How can we be sure it is secured? Some suspect that enterprise cloud services will have a major role to play, and Latisys interviewed a slew of tech-lovers to learn more.
Pay More Effectively
The Internet of Things is popping up in neighborhoods. Keyon Thomas is Director of Marketing at InfoStreet. He retells a recent experience:
“The other day I walked into one of my favorite shops. I noticed that instead of the typical POS [Point of Sale], there was an iPad in front of the cashier. I asked the owner about it, and she replied, ‘We do everything else on our iPads and iPhones, so why not use it for ringing up customers too? It just makes sense.’ With the help of the cloud app Square, she’s now been able to replace the expensive and outdated POS system she had before with a mobile device.”
“Currently more than fifty percent of companies have either already migrated or are planning a future migration to the cloud,” he continues. “Many office employees are also choosing to forgo new computers, turning instead to their tablets or phones to handle email and other tasks. It just makes sense that mobile and cloud would lead the way.”
Empower Individuals in Everyday Pursuits
Dana Marlowe is a Principle Partner with Accessibility Partners, a company which helps businesses find and adopt technology-based accessibility tools for the disabled. She says:
“Cloud computing, as well as an Internet of Things, is hugely important to users with disabilities. Making up 20% of the population in America, people with disabilities need accessible technology to remain competitive in our increasingly tech-driven world. Having assistive technology, like screen readers or magnifiers, on the cloud for people with disabilities can allow them to access their devices anywhere.”
Companies like Xively and Zapier utilize enterprise cloud services to deliver these services to people like Marlow and Robinson. What does this mean for the everyday person with a mobile phone? “By personalizing the experience of a user. . . we can create a situation where they can interact with their environment in a way that wasn’t possible in the past,” concludes Marlowe.
Better Secure Property
The security on most buildings and vehicles these days can be dated back to approximately 900 A.D., when the first all-metal lock and key was made. Modern technology can do better. A lot better.
Remote devices to lock and unlock your home, as well as alarm systems, have existed for a couple of decades now, but a home security company with the Guinn Consultancy Group has a modern vision:
“We are planning the devices and functionality to assess what is “on” in your home and what should be “on” or “off” at any specific time. Think you were rushing around this morning and forgot to turn off the stove or the coffeemaker or the iron? Check it from your computer and turn it off, if needed. Measure your electrical usage remotely, and control the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) within one degree so that you have full control of your in-home environment from your smartphone.”
Save on Energy Costs
Utility bills are no fun to pay, and when the price of energy increases, many look to technology as a way to lower bills.
“Cloud computing is perfect for this purpose. It allows the manufacturer to produce a product with a smaller, more cost effective embeddable computer chip with simplified functionality, and to perform the heavy lifting via a large, powerful server that can handle the workloads.” says Joe Grotto at Crane, a firm that designs home air products. “We are working on a WiFi-enabled heater and humidifier. [Enterprise cloud services] reduces energy cost for the consumer since the chip would require much less power. Using mobile applications, people can manage their ‘smart’ devices from anywhere.”
Energy savings come from more than just a low-consumptive computer chip. Smart thermostats can also be programmed to optimize energy consumption from an online weather feed – the heat will turn down on cloudy days and up during freak blizzards. Feel like overriding the thermostat’s response to the weather feed? No problem – control it from your smartphone app.
Increase Access to Medical Services
It’s not news – the cost of medical care has been rising for decades, and as a result basic health care has become cost-prohibitive for many. That’s unacceptable to the technological pioneers represented by Guinn Consultancy Group.
“[Another of my clients] is concerned with making medical facilities more available and convenient for patient accommodation,” Guinn continues. “We don’t really need a ‘doc in a box’ on every corner of every street if direct access to a physician is universal and available across the Internet. Within five years, apps will be linked to your smartphone which enable your medical doctor to monitor your temperature, blood pressure, pulse oxygen levels, blood pressure, pulse and respiration.”
Professional, personalized medical advice from an app could mean serious life improvement for the chronically ill, as well, who would otherwise spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours per year at doctors’ offices. Guinn says:
“Those with current ongoing medical conditions such as diabetes, heart issues, kidney disease or lung disorders will benefit greatly from baseline monitoring and instant analysis of change in body function or condition. Science fiction? We think not – and all because the ‘Internet of Things’ has cloud storage.”
What’s Next for the Internet of Things and the Cloud?
Bill Balderaz, president of Fathom Healthcare, says it best:
“Cloud computing and mobile devices are the only two items needed for the Internet of Everything. Everything about us lives, or is moving to the cloud. Our music, our e-commerce history, our work contacts, our health records, how we like our coffee, what time we exercise – it’s all in or heading to the cloud. When data lives in the cloud and all devices around us are Internet enabled, we have the Internet of Everything.”