about the Internet of Things

Read this post. Your future self will thank you, most likely via Internet.


An Article of Sorts about the Internet of Things

Whether recalling his goal for Windows XP or discussing his thoughts on virtual currency, our posts frequently make reference to Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates. One aspect of Gates’ life we have not examined as closely as others have is Gates’ Medina, Washington home. Boasting a trampoline room (!), twenty four bathrooms, and a reception hall, dude’s house is the height of luxury and the stuff of legend. Blogger, Richard Folkers, describes the home’s technological features, writing:

As you move about the house, your choice of art appears on high-definition television monitors. Music, lighting, and climate settings all tag along, too. A small pin you wear lets the system know who and where you are. You can go to a computer terminal to pick out a movie or television program. It will follow you to the nearest screen.

This becomes even more remarkable when you consider that this is a description of Gates’ home circa 1997!

A wise man once said, “Innovation is the whim of an elite before it becomes the need of the public.” From the color television to the cell phone, this saying has been supported time after time and advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) promise to prove it true once again. Indeed, the amenities that make Gates’ home a curiosity may soon render it commonplace. Join SLICE as we explore the IoT and predict how it will shape the future.

A Few Things You Should Know

The IoT is a scenario in which objects, animals, or people are given unique identifiers and the power to transfer information over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. The pin that Gates wears to maintain his ideal ambiance as he moves through his mansion is an example of IoT technology. Before you become too jealous, you should know that chances are good that you also enjoy IoT technology.

Does your car feature a sensor to alert you when tire pressure is low? Do you own any “smart” (machine-to-machine communication enabled) devices? If so, you utilize IoT technology. You may even live in an IoT city. Soofas, solar powered benches equipped with USB ports, dot Boston’s parks and college campuses. As joggers and students relax and charge their cell phones, the Soofa collects air quality and noise level data and shares the information on Soofa’s website so that locals can determine whether a Soofa location is too smoggy for a jog or too loud for a study session. The BigBelly Solar trash can is a similar IoT innovation. Found in every state, the smart cans tell trash and recycling collectors when it is time for a pick-up. In barely perceptible ways such as these, the IoT is quickly seeping into everyday life.  As of today, two to three billion things are connected to the Internet.

The Internet of Things to Come

The current climate has techies convinced that the IoT’s efflorescence is right around the corner. Broadband Internet is widely available. Companies like Qualcomm, Intel, and Texas Instruments have recently begun to take advantage of this, creating inexpensive, power-efficient chips that enable most anything to connect to the Internet via WIFI. As the cost of both Internet connection and technology decreases, the volume and pervasiveness of smart and censor-enabled gadgets continues to grow. Technology research firm, Gartner, estimates that by 2020, 26 billion devices will be online, which has us wondering what the world will be like in 2020.Six years into the future may not seem very far away, but if we at SLICE have learned anything in our 20 plus years in the managed services business, it is that the passage of six calendar years can bring 15 years worth of technological advancements.

Gartner foresees the IoT transforming enterprise. The firm predicts that inventors will work to create sensors and other devices intended to revolutionize perennial industries, like medicine and agriculture. The former, experts speculate, will shift to the home. A recent survey finds that 70% of people would be willing to install a smart toilet in their home that would collect data about (icky) things like the hormones in their urine and provide a diagnosis if it meant saving money on healthcare. The bathroom is not the only room expected to be Internet connected in the year 2020. As we discuss in a previous post, companies like Apple, are aiming for a near future in which virtually every appliance in the average household-from the thermostat to the dishwasher-is smart. It looks as if Mr. Gates will have to step up his game.

Another trend we have covered that is sure to flourish in the era of the IoT is wearable technology. Chris Brauer, co-director of the Centre for Creative and Social Technologies at Goldmsiths, University of London, posits that the data collected by wearable gadgets will contribute to the rise of a “human cloud of personal data.” In the right light, the concept of a human cloud is an appealing one. It can serve as a convenient log of your personal preferences so that your environment can adjust instantly and accordingly. It may even save your life by acting as a record of your medical history.

However, as with any other font of personal data, IoT technology such as smart appliances and wearables can be a liability if not properly executed. HP’s Fortify Security Software Unit has recently tested 10 popular devices likely to be included in the IoT (gadgets such as lawn sprinkler controls) and concludes that 70% contain security exposures. On average, each device possesses 25 holes, or risks, of compromising the entire network. Let us hope that developers work out the kinks before connecting all objects, animals, and people to the Internet.

While we do not have a 20/20 vision of exactly what 2020 will be like, it is safe to assume that the Internet of Things will have added many more things to its collection.  SLICE Managed Solutions has the tools and experience to help you prepare for the IoT and any other technological revolution that comes your way.


 By: Alannah Dragonetti

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