By Rick Baker
The ‘Internet of Things’, you’ve heard about it.
You may be talking about it, asking “What exactly does it mean?”
Recently, that question was discussed at our office, “What does ‘Internet of Things’ mean?”
At our meeting, Chris Labrador posed a vital question, “In the Internet of Things, what is the main thing?’”
After some discussion, we agreed – the ‘main thing’ in the Internet of Things is People.
The Internet of Things [IoT] exists to serve people; IoT exists to deliver value to people…to enhance people’s lives.
IoT is an advanced, multi-faceted tool.
What other things does IoT contain?
The IoT has some fundamental components:
- connectivity in the form of wires, routers, switches
- computer hardware, and
For more technical details, see Wikipedia’s IoT description.
Why have IoT?
What value does IoT deliver to people?
On the macro scale: IoT will soon be the most powerful tool devised by Mankind…embraced around our planet…by billions of people…delivering value for personal use and delivering value for business/organization/government use.
On the micro scale: IoT will present unique value to each person who decides to put it to good use…imagine advanced person-by-person concierge & valet services…customized thought-concierge & valet services…decision guidance…action recommendations.
The thought-concierge & valet value you obtain from your IoT activity will be different than the thought-concierge & valet value I obtain from my IoT activity.
The First Level of Value is: IoT provides information to people; IoT connects with information and delivers information to people. This information helps people understand their situations and environments and improve their decisions. Information-value is a subjective thing; decision-making process is another subjective thing. So, to provide the first level of value IoT will learn what information-value means to each person. Then IoT will gather pertinent information for each person. Timing of information delivery will always be a key thing, in summary – the quicker the better.
An example of IoT’s first level of value: today, we use software apps to control our sprinkler systems. These software apps are programmed to ensure the zones in our property are watered at pre-set times for pre-set durations. Without us taking any action, these software apps monitor local weather stations, override the pre-set watering instructions and stop the watering when a certain level of rain is expected or has occurred. These software apps notify us every time our pre-set watering programs are overridden. This very-basic IoT has been created to ensure we do not over-water our lawns and gardens…this basic IoT saves/conserves electricity and water…and that helps our environment and saves our money.
The Second Level of Value is: contextual consciousness. In the not too distant future, IoT will gain a level of consciousness…let’s consider that to be the first ingredient of intelligence. Soon, IoT will go beyond understanding the data you are interested in, how to gather that data for you, how to combine it, how to package it, and how to deliver it to you. Venturing beyond these things, IoT will begin to understand why you want this data and your IoT will understand all of the nuances around your ‘why’, i.e., your IoT will understand your specific ‘why’. Your IoT will understand your preferences and why you make certain decisions. Your IoT will be able to extrapolate and interpolate, understand why you change your mind, make basic decisions for you, and hone recommendations to help you as you make your important/advanced decisions. With contextual consciousness, your IoT will automatically improve your personal organization and mentor your personal growth.
An example of IoT’s second level of value: Consider the water-sprinkler example presented above and let’s add a complication: let’s say we have two little dogs and one of the watering zones in our yard is called ‘The Dog Walk’. We want to ensure that zone gets as much water as possible. So, every time the software app notifies us it has turned off this zone we [using our smart phone or computer] visit the software app [web-tool] and we manually water The Dog Walk zone. In the not-too-distant future, the software app will gain a small piece of contextual consciousness…it will recognize/learn that we have special needs in The Dog Walk zone and it will automatically adjust itself to (1) leave the watering ‘on’ at The Dog Walk zone when it shuts off the other zones and (2) adjust its note to let us know, “Rain is predicted so we are turning off your sprinklers but, don’t worry – we will continue to water your Dog Walk zone”.
Then…a little later, but still in the not-too-distant future…
IoT will expand its ability to extrapolate and interpolate – it will do even more reading outside the lines and reading between the lines of our actions, understanding why we change our minds, making basic decisions for us, and honing recommendations for our important/advanced decisions…improving our personal organization and mentoring our personal growth.
As IoT uses its contextual consciousness to gain intelligence we will see it take advanced steps. The history of technical advancements, strongly suggests these advancements will happen rapidly and be exponential.
An example of an advanced step: again, consider the above sprinkler system examples. As sprinkler-control companies build IoT value for their clients their software apps will send notes like this to our neighbours who use sprinkler systems, “Some of your neighbours choose to water their Dog Walk zones even when it rains. If you see merit in this strategy, press this button and we will make sure your Dog Walk is watered rain or shine.”
The Internet of Things – what amazing things now on all our horizons…coming our way so quickly.