Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Did Your Espresso Machine Just Tweet You?

When asked, I like to explain the "Internet of Things" as an ecosystem of technologies monitoring the status of physical objects IRL (in real life, in "meatspace", as opposed to cyberspace), capturing meaningful data, and communicating through the great internet IP network to our software apps. For Bluedog, the Internet of Things means smart objects, machine to machine communication, RF technologies, and a central hub of information.

As a proponent of service oriented architecture, I find the idea of the Internet of Things to be compelling. With devices of all kinds reporting data in real-time, people have the ability to make quicker, more accurate decisions. In the supply chain, managers could monitor the status of shipments like a crate filled with expiring pharmaceuticals or spoiling veggies. With sensors, RFID tags, and RFID readers, supply chain participants view in real-time the exact location of the cargo inside the warehouse, its point of origin, time until expiration, and factors in the environment like temperature that might impact the process.

This transparent process improves efficiency, reduces waste, and allows traceability. If a shipment is determined to be unsuitable for consumption due to spoilage or other unforeseen circumstance, the root cause will quickly be discovered from the plethora of information available.

Kevin Ashton likely first coined the phrase in 1999, but the idea has evolved in the intervening time. Initially, it was used to describe the limitations in the relationship between the internet, computers, and the physical world. Ashton was describing how nearly all the data available on the internet originates from a human. With available and emerging technologies, Ashton believed information about things need not be dependent on a manual interaction; it could be an automated process.

At Bluedog, we see the adoption of such supporting technologies as a means of spurring innovation. IP networks are commonplace throughout homes, offices, warehouses, even city streets. Industry need and government mandates are regulating technologies leading to accepted standards across boundaries, allowing for interoperability among devices. The cost and size of devices continues decreasing which allows companies to embed smaller, common items with GPS, Q-codes or bar codes, RFID, and low-cost sensors.

Contemplate the future, on this, the close of 2013. Drones and other autonomous vehicles, more mobile computing, the Cloud, the frontiers of space being pushed back, new genetics, physics, materials science and other advancements! The future is so bright, I've gotta wear shades.

No comments:

Post a Comment