Everyday activities, like watching TV, listening to music or even turning on the air conditioning, is made faster, easier and more convenient for us, through the use of a control. How about a remote that you could use to simplify your life?
If you could purchase a device that you could use to control your life, what would you make it do? Wouldn’t it be good if you didn’t have to wait until you got to the train station, to find out your train was delayed? Your alarm clock could let you lie in for the time your train is delayed through a signal to your smart phone. Just getting a message telling you the information is good, but having your device rearrange your plans automatically is better.
The Internet of Things is a concept first used by Kevin Ashton in 1999, which refers to identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. Instead of our devices just talking to each other through a signal, they will actually bring about a solution to the issue at hand. Devices will automatically recognize your day-to-day activities and work out trends so they know you and your needs.
Sensors and actuators are now being embedded in physical objects, which are then linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. Allowing objects to sense the environment and communicate, they then become tools for understanding complexity and are able to respond to it swiftly.
These physical information systems are now being used, and are even able to work largely without human intervention. For example, there are billboards in Japan that will peer back at passersby, assessing how they fit consumer profiles, and instantly change displayed messages based on those assessments.
Another example of how physical information systems are starting to be deployed would be, we can now sign up to a programme created by a shop or brand, and when you are in a close radius of this shop, it is able to sense you are close by and you will receive a personal and unique text giving you, and only you, an exclusive offer, within that shop.
So, forget the cliché idea of fridge that sends you a text when you run out of milk. Try one that senses what’s inside, chooses your next fortnight’s meal plans, order what it needs via an online supermarket, and syncs a delivery slot with your Gmail calendar. Then, wouldn’t life be easier?