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The internet of things explained

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The concept is hard to define precisely as it is still a relatively new idea. In short, it is the attributing the ability for objects to be connected to the internet and identifying themselves to other objects. For example, if you had a smart refrigerator it would notify you that you were running out of milk before you actually ran out of milk; or how the cream is about to expire and needs to be consumed soon.

Having our lives connected to the internet (smart homes, offices, streets and cities) seems like a vision, but it is being built today in very small steps. As we become more connected through these objects, there are information challenges, such as:

1. Privacy

“The concern is that products are hackable as soon as they connect to the Internet and are accessible by the world,” Shapiro said. (Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association)

 

2. Data ownership

As data reveals consumer habits, there will undoubtedly be a battle over who can gain access to this information.

General Motors is collecting massive amounts of data through its OnStar subsidiary, a subscription-based communication service that provides drivers with in-car security, calling, navigation and remote diagnostics capabilities.

“They can show you every GM OnStar customer who has had an accident on a day on a map, and show you ‘here’s where the airbag deployed,’” Shapiro explained.

 

To address these challenges (and others)  an Internet of Things Council has already been formed and part of its mission is to:

 “Whoever ensures traceability, sustainability and security linking up the gateways is de facto and de jure the new power.

We want that power to be as inclusive, open and transparent as possible.

We believe the “winning solution” to making the most open, inclusive and innovative Internet of Things is to transcend the short-term opposition between social innovation and security by finding a way to combine these two necessities in a broader common perspective.  “

 

infographic photonstarlighting

 

 IoT examples:

REMEMBER TO TAKE YOUR MEDS

GlowCaps fit prescription bottles and via a wireless chip provide services that help people stick with their prescription regimen; from reminder messages, all the way to refill and doctor coordination

 

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MEDICATION

The Proteus ingestible pill sensor is powered by contact with your stomach fluid and communicates a signal that determines the timing of when you took your meds and the identity of the pill. This information is transferred to a patch worn on the skin to be logged for you and your doctor’s reference. Heart rate, body position and activity can also be detected.

 

HEAT YOUR HOME EFFICIENTLY

Smart thermostats like the Nest use sensors, real-time weather forecasts, and the actual activity in your home during the day to reduce your monthly energy usage by up to 30%, keeping you more comfortable, and offering to save you money on your utility bills.

 

AVOID DISASTERS

Using a device like the Ninja Block and its range of add-on sensors you can track if a water pipe has burst in your basement, if there is motion inside your home while you are away, and have it automatically send you a notification by email or text message when it happens.

 

KEEP STREETS CLEAN

Products like the cellular communication enabled Smart Belly trash use real-time data collection and alerts to let municipal services know when a bin needs to be emptied. This information can drastically reduce the number of pick-ups required, and translates into fuel and financial savings for communities service departments.

 

RECEIVE POLLUTION WARNINGS

The DontFlushMe project by Leif Percifield is an example that combines sensors installed in Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) with alerts to local residents so they can avoid polluting local waterways with raw sewage by not flushing their toilets during overflow events.

 

MAINTAIN & REPAIR

Sensors installed inside equipment will monitor if any parts have exceeded their designed thresholds, and will automatically send reports to owners and manufacturers if they have. Early predictions on equipment malfunctions can be made with parts and service maintenance can be automatically scheduled ahead of a an actual part failure.

 

MAINTAIN QUALITY & CONSISTENCY

Using networked sensors, cameras, and lasers to analyze manufacturing processes like those from SightMachine you can determine if a part is good or bad based on its physical characteristics; identify if it is the right component for the job and monitor trends, variations, and relationships in the system over time.

 

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ASSETS

The OnFarm solution combines real-time sensor data from soil moisture levels, weather forecasts, and pesticide usage from farming sites into a consolidated web dashboard. Farmers can use this data with advanced imaging and mapping information to spot crop issues and remotely monitor all of the farms assets and resource usage levels.

 

TRACK WATER

The University of Berkeley’s Floating Sensor Network project uses motorized drifters (Outfitted with cell communication, GPS, temperature, and salinity sensors) that can be quickly deployed in response to unanticipated events such as floods to track the movement of water, contaminants, and other conditions in waterways.

 

GET AN ADVANCED WARNING

The University of Loughborough’s Acoustic Landslide Detector system called ALARMS (Assessment of Landslides using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems), detects high-frequency stress waves produced by soil movement. They can be used to calculate soil movement in real time and send out alerts to communities before an event occurs.

 

“In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin.

It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.” – Neil Gross 1999

 

Sources: Postscapes, Forbes, Techopedia, photon star lighting 

 

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