Here’s how to get ready for an IoT world using existing technology
As we‘ve mentioned before, much of the critical advancement of the Internet of Things takes place out of laboratories and away from the desk: this next generation of connectivity and communication is happening all around us, every day. Even though a lot of the more complex infrastructure work is happening in enterprise and the IIoT, consumer electronics is still advanced and offers tangible access to tomorrow’s IoT ideas. But even if we accept these ideas as true, there’s still a feeling for some that this new groundbreaking interconnectivity is reserved for goods, vehicles and devices that run into the thousands of pounds. Not so. While much of the entry-level technology used is still cutting edge, you can tech-enable your life for not that much, and often nothing at all (if you have a smartphone and take a bit of time to customise the set up). So, here are a few ways you can get ready for the IoT using existing networks and tech:
Push notifications: They may not occupy the most glamorous corner of this brave new world, but push notifications can still streamline your day. Researching the US election? A twitter chat is about to start using the hashtag you saved. Looking to move house? Three just came up in your price bracket within the postcode you specified. Is it going to be sunny tomorrow afternoon? Don’t forget to use the washing machine after 2pm so your solar panels can pay for it. All these are examples of device communication which can help automate aspects of daily life.
GPS: Granted, much of the utility of GPS in IoT comes from also owning a smart thermostat, fridge etc, but if you do…well, you won’t have to think about heating much anymore. Between GPS tracking and NFC your house, even down to individual rooms, will develop its own heating routine (and turn itself off when it knows you’re in bed). On the way home from work? Your geofence detects you’re in the active radius and the heating comes on – as do the lights (if you want).
Cloud storage: Data is a key component of IoT utility. Collecting aggregated data leads to a discovery of patterns. Patterns mean habits, and habits are where the IoT can assist in everyday life. Self-employed? Track journeys in your car to get an accurate idea of location as well as mileage. Link your GPS with a google sheet and once an accurate pattern of behaviour is established, predictions can then be made about cost and time saving.
Activity trackers: From Jawbones to Apple Watches, activity trackers don’t just help us analyse our workout routines, they can also motivate us too. But beyond all the exercise functions, many of them also analyse our sleep cycle. Link your fitness band to your smart lighting system and when you wake up, your lights could be on already. If you have one of these locks, with BLE (bluetooth low energy) enabled on your phone, you won’t need a house key again.
Email: It may be a legacy format for many but email is still no.1 for millions of businesses and consumers the world over. It’s also a valid cog in the IoT machine too. If it works for you – use it. The IoT exists to simplify and automate, and if email is the way you prefer to communicate then set up RSS alerts based on weather, calendar events, news, sport, shopping, finance and see how much easier your day becomes.
IF/IFTTT: This site/app/platform is one of the enzymes that catalyses all these app reactions. Services such as IF feel like the precursor to a true IoT environment, where apps that should work together DO work together. Formerly known as ‘If This Then That’, IF allows you to sign up and link all your different social networks and most used smartphone apps to create ‘recipes’ that work for you. (There are several alternatives to IF here, by the way). So far, 367 apps connect to IF. Chances are you use a couple already.
The IoT ecosystem is rightly still viewed as cutting edge, but we are now at the stage where more and more everyday elements must be demonstrated as accessible and practical. With a couple of new appliances and just a few tweaks to existing devices you’ll be ready for the revolution. The Internet of Things – it’s not all rocket science.
Author: Jon Kennard
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