This blog originally appeared on Sogeti’s technology trendlab called ViNT – Vision Inspiration Navigating Trends
The Internet of Things can be a vague term with even more vague benefits. Today I will show you the Internet of Things is not vague at all. No, the Internet of Things is very practical and concrete to some level already. The reason why Internet of Things can be so pragmatic already is because there are a lot of domestic applications. These domestic applications will help us with very daily tasks in the very near future.
Calm technology era
The idea behind domestic applications is, that these ‘smart’ objects make our lives easier. The expectation of this technological development is that we will enter a calm technology era. The calm technology era will not only be less immediate to us users, but will also move unneeded information to the edge of interfaces. This information is still ready for use but there will be a focus on really needed information. But is not all honey and pie. In this context I would love to add a quote of Dalton Caldwell, the Co-Founder & CEO of App.net who says in his LeWeb 2012 keynote:
“Think your email inbox and social feeds are overwhelming? Just wait…”
A lot of unneeded information will be filtered by our phones, tablets etc. but, what about the huge amount of pop ups, e-mail alerts, sms-messages, tweets, and other updates we will receive when one of our connected objects is down for a while?
IoT driven household
Now let’s talk about those domestic Internet of Things objects and devices. Personally I am pretty sure that a lot of people who are reading and talking about Internet of Things have seen the video ‘A Day Made of Glass’ from Corning. If not, be sure to do so. Future music? I don’t think so! Let me present 5 examples of ‘Internet of Things’ services which you easily can use in your house today. Like the A Day Made of Glass’ example we also start in the morning and we will walk through a day with the use of ‘Internet of Things’ services.
Nest thermostat (Video)
You want the same comfortable temperature when you wake up and walk downstairs every morning. Always comfortable and no more waste. The reason for this is your thermostat, Nest. Nest figured out that 89% of programmable thermostats waste energy. Another thing Nest found out was that a lot of people do not bother to program them. You can control Nest from you phone at anytime.
When you start with Nest you have to answer a few questions. After that, Nest will optimize itself and start learning from your temperature changes. In less than 30 minutes you can install Nest. Imagine that you never have to look at your thermostat again… If we have to believe Nest, the thermostat can also lower heating and cooling bills up to 20%.
The weather report on your toast
The next thing you will do in the morning after walking downstairs is turning on your toaster. (In the future your house will know how late you have breakfast and will automatically turn on.) After you have put a slice of bread in the toaster and wait for a few seconds your bread will pop out. And guess what, not only your toasted bread but also the weather report came out. Now you know also how to dress this day. The toaster ‘Jamy’ is designed by Nathan Brunstein.
We also do not have to worry about our plants and garden in the future. An often used saying can also be used here: “There is an app for that.” The app ‘Plantlink’ receives a message from a device near the plant when it needs water. The inventor notes:
“Plant Link is a system that monitors the water needs of your lawn, garden, or house plants. It alerts you when they need to be watered and can even water them for you.”
Control Battery-Operated Devices
In the evening you can use Tether cell. Tether cell is a control battery-operated device which can used from your smart phone or tablet.
Tether cell is a battery controller that enables you to connect to and control AA-battery-operated devices.
Ube: The Smart Dimmer
After you have controlled your battery-operated device when you lay down in bed you can use Ube. Ube is a Wi-Fi connected smart light dimmer which allows you to control your lights from our smart phone app either while you are at home or away.
You don’t buy a ‘Internet of Things’, you buy a service.
Data driven household
When we see all those connected objects in our houses we can conclude there are a lot of domestic applications ready for use. All those objects measure our way of living and will create a huge amount of very personal ‘behavioural data’. This data will not only tell us how many calories we eat, how we brush our tooth or if we buy promotions. This data will also tell us a lot more. Basically ‘things’ will come back to us. We buy objects, connect them to our household and they will tell us who we are.
Data driven business
When look further then in-house connected objects and gadgets and look at the business side of the Internet of Things: how valuable is IoT for business? When you say the examples we have discussed in this post can also be used in business I will agree with you. But, that is not my point.
When households can save 20% on energy, imagine what your company can save on company processes in the future. Right now the return on investment is concrete in households but how is that in business? If you ask me there are not a lot of great IoT solution examples a.t.m. But what does it promise?
Working more efficient, creating more value out of current processes, reducing waste and optimizing use of natural resources, these are the big promises of the era of IoT. Some people talk about IoT as the 2th renascence, we are talking about a change then, a big one…Will we see this change happening anytime soon?