Everybody knows that the Internet of Everything (IoE) aims to connect everything we use and do online and means that we are on the verge of a new industrial revolution – a smart revolution. Daily, the world is becoming more connected, and smarter. Soon cellphones will become the controllers of choice for our online TVs, and even our clothes, furniture, appliances, and life.
Apps are appearing that help select your favorite clothes. Smart houses now tweet their owners, and not just the boring heating and light settings in the home. Health, convenience, and standards of living are all targets for IoE. The Lumo gadget, for instance, clips to a belt or your clothes and senses exactly how you’re sitting or standing. Phone apps and adapters are appearing that will sense vital signs for transmitting to your physician.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming the IoE, and it will utilize smart servers in the cloud as the next lucrative battleground of the technical giants. Everything from pillows to watches will become smart sensors that talk with other gadgets to make life easier. Already, products like the Nest smart thermostat (now a Google product), and Hue smart lightbulbs from Philips have proven successful.
According to some estimates, by 2020, every device will be expected to be connected to the Internet; heating and lighting is just the first foray. Samsung and other manufacturers make a range of connected kitchen appliances, and even Apple has introduced a kit that lets developers control smart gadgets easily. Belkin’s WeMo smart switches are one of the simplest ways to automate a home: a variety of sensors from light switches to plug adapters allow anything you plug into them to become smart. There’s even a WeMo connected slow cooker which can be controlled remotely. Smart garbage cans will scan a product barcode (before recycling of course) and build a shopping list of items to be replaced. Shopping itself is also about to change, too. Apple has produced beacons and Bluetooth sensors that send you tempting offers when you pass by them, or even tell you where to find that item you’re seeking.
British product designer Tom Coates has built a smart-connected house with light switches, motion sensors, and even a vacuum cleaner that can tweet him when something happens, or just to let him know its status. You can follow it on Twitter. Using a simple interface, it can email him every time the temperature gets too hot, or turn on a light and heating when it spots he is heading home, for instance. Problem tweeted? Go to a webcam with night vision, turn the lights on, and speak into a microphone and be heard inside the house. The key to the home of the future is having appliances and infrastructure that can easily inter-communicate without complex set-up procedures.
British-born Alan Lowne is the CEO of Saelig Co. Inc., an importing distributor of test and measurement products. Before starting Saelig, he was an electronics design engineer for Eastman Kodak.