With the advancement of wireless technologies, more and more devices are able to be connected to each other. The idea is that, one day, this “internet of things” can encompass a business or household’s entire range of devices, allowing the mass collection of data from various devices to significantly increase efficiency. This growing network of gadgets could revolutionize the way that we live and a lot of interest is being shown into developing the internet of things so that it occurs sooner rather than later.
The premise of the internet of things is simple: it involves connecting all your devices together, allowing them to be controlled by a single central hub. This hub, whether a tablet or a smartphone, will allow you to control all of your devices wherever you are. At home, this could mean controlling everything from your washing machine to your oven, even while you’re away. For businesses, this can mean adjusting store merchandising on the fly, opening and closing at specified times and controlling security. The internet of things encompasses a lot of other things, depending on the devices connected, but the premise is an attractive one – complete control, wherever you are.
The internet of things isn’t exactly a new idea. In 1982, the first internet connected appliance was a Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University, which sent information in regards to stock levels and temperature. However, in modern times, technology is a lot more sophisticated and connectivity a lot more open than it previously was. These days, with devices from intelligent thermostats to television recording all able to be accessed through secondary devices, the internet of things is very much wide open and all-encompassing.
IBM (International Business Machines Corp) have announced that they plan to invest $3 billion to build an Internet of Things Division, allowing them to harness the data collected by connected devices such as smartphones to allow businesses to operate at peak efficiency. This unit will include a cloud platform, a bluemix IoT platform and a large network of partners to allow businesses to utilise as much data as possible. One of these businesses is the Weather Channel, allowing businesses to access the latest forecasts so they can adapt their business to inclement weather. IBM’s rivals, such as Cisco and General Electric, are also hunting for ways to develop the internet of things and allow businesses to harness the power of widely collected data.
There is a huge array of devices being created to increase connectivity, from smart fridges to pet treat dispensers and much, much more. As devices continue to advance in terms of connectivity, you can be assured that the internet of things will develop substantially over the coming years. We look forward to seeing how this technology develops and grows in the years to come.