These days, we barely remember a time before the Internet. It is a part of our everyday lives, a seamless piece of our contemporary existence, but we’re now witnessing a new phase of this technological revolution: The Internet of Things (IoT).
No longer confined to our computer screens, the Internet is connecting inanimate objects with our needs and desires—and we’re not just talking about smartphones and smart TVs. The Internet of Things focuses on machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, gathering data and leveraging it in ways never before imagined. Homes, offices, and public spaces have the potential to change drastically in the coming years.
If you aren’t quite sure about the Internet of Things, imagine the following day:
You wake up the morning in your bed that has adjusted temperature during the night to best suit your sleeping needs. You walk into your kitchen where you check the time, calculate your portion size, and learn how long to cook your breakfast with your smart scale. Perhaps before you dive into your day’s stresses, you squeeze in a bike ride on your bike with navigation guidance, exercise metrics, and blind spot sensors. You let the cat outside as you walk out the door, but you’re not concerned about him getting lost because he has on his GPS tracking collar. You forget to lock the doors, but they lock themselves.
After your ride, you come home to take a shower with your bluetooth compatible, music-playing shower head, and then you brush your teeth with your smart toothbrush that detects effectiveness of the cleaning. All that water reminds you of your garden sensors, which you check from your phone. The soil mixture, pH levels, and moisture amount looks good this morning.
The week’s business trip is easy with luggage that self-weighs itself and has GPS tracking just in case the airlines lose it along the way. Between meetings, you remember to purchase a new soccer ball for your daughter who made the varsity team. A new one that can track speed, spin, and strike power might bring her to the next level.
Once you check into your hotel for the night, you’re excited to find that your room comes with a smart yoga mat that gives real-time feedback on your alignment and can suggest corrections to your poses. For a moment, you worry you’ve lost your wallet, but you easily find it after a few seconds when you activate your wallet locator. As you finally lie down in bed, you notice the wall hangings in the hotel room. Not liking their selections, you choose new ones which appear instantaneously in the frames of the old ones. Before you fall asleep, you think about the fishing trip you have planned for the weekend and make a mental note to bring your fish-finder.
A story like this sounds like something witnessed by a young Marty McFly, when he stumbled into the future. But his time-travelling DeLorean was set for 2015 after all. The future is now.
Are the objects around us getting smarter? Maybe it depends on your definition of the word. All we know is that the way that the Internet is changing modern life is about to get a lot more interesting. The Internet of Things is a revolution in itself.