What uses will I have for the IOT?
There’s a lot of speculation about what the Internet Of Things will be, a huge network composed of small devices interconnected through the Internet, which will collect data, transmit it, and then give instructions to perform actions accordingly. But it’s somehow hard to imagine the specific and practical sense of all this “in our home” … How will a smart home be able to help the inhabitants of the house? In an effort to shed light on this, let’s talk about 3 typical applications that nearly all of us would appreciate right now.
The senior living application provides a safe (but still private) way of monitoring our elderly. Many of them would like to live the rest of their lives independently, without having cameras spying on their daily behaviors or wearing alarm bracelets or necklaces. Instead of this, the Senior Living application relies upon a set of sensors (a minimum of 4) located in strategic places around the house, monitoring a person’s habitual movements. The first could be located in the bedroom, to track when the person sleeps. Another one could track how often he visits the bathroom; one could be placed in the kitchen to see how often he eats or prepares food. The last one could be located on the front door, to track how often he leaves the house and how long he is out. All this is fed into an intelligent cloud system, which in just 2 weeks will have “learned” the senior’s daily schedule: when does he wake up, when does he go to the bathroom, when does he eat, when does he leave, etc. Apart from providing security for the senior and his family, this can be useful for medical health monitoring. Once the system has “learned” the senior’s activity, it can send an alert to his family or caregiver if it detects sudden changes in his behavior, or even better: this system can track gradual changes which could indicate medical issues. The system can share this data with other home systems such as lighting, heating, security, etc.
Detection systems for gas or water leaks have been on the market for years … but at best, they just sound an alarm when a leak is detected. A smart leak detection system could not only notify the homeowner immediately , but it could also communicate with the corresponding intelligent systems (water, gas, power) to switch it off, thereby minimizing the damages caused by the leak. As you can imagine, home insurance companies are very interested in these systems.
For sure this won’t save your life, but having a lighting control system that responds to your voice could be very handy, and even fun. Who really wants to leave his favorite armchair to go see if the kids left the lights on at the other end of the house? Also, though there were light control systems before, they required a remote control or a smartphone to use them. At present, system manufacturers combine them with voice systems like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, using their cloud intelligence to recognize commands which control lights and power usage. It works like this:
- People talk to the system
- The system uses the home’s local network to transmit the command to the cloud
- The cloud intelligence interprets the command and returns instructions to the smart home system, so it can turn on/off the lights.
It seems to be very complex, but it’s done instantly. It can also be used with other systems like heating, air conditioning, door and window locks, etc.
Alexa, please feed the dog!
These are just 3 simple examples, but in the same way that the Internet has changed our lives, the IOT will take them to the next level, in a way that today we can hardly imagine.