Saturday, 10 April 2010

THE INTERNET OF THINGS - STARTING TO TAKE OFF

The Internet of Things is very quickly moving out of the hype stage. Wikipedia defines it as:

"The idea is as simple as its application is difficult. If all cans, books, shoes or parts of cars are equipped with minuscule identifying devices, daily life on our planet will undergo a transformation. Things like running out of stock or wasted products will no longer exist as we will know exactly what is being consumed on the other side of the globe. Theft will be a thing of the past as we will know where a product is at all times. The same applies to parcels lost in the post. If all objects of daily life, from yoghurt to an airplane, are equipped with radio tags, they can be identified and managed by computers in the same way humans can"

Over the last couple of years, we have had a few tasters of what it could mean, including Botanicals, the kits (pictured above) that:

"Lets plants reach out for human help! They offer a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates to your mobile phone. When your plant needs water, it will post to let you know, and send its thanks when you show it love." botanicalls.com

Many of you will also know Baker Tweet as well.

"BakerTweet is a way for busy bakers to tell the world that something hot and fresh has just come out of the oven. It's as simple as turning the dial and hitting the button. All of the baker's followers get a Twitter alert to tell them that it's bun-time. Or bread time. Or whatever." bakertweet.com

Although both of these are clever, they are also gimmicky, and driven more for the press releases than any long lasting higher aim or profit motive (although I do see both Baker Tweet and Botanicals are selling their hardware).

The Internet of Things will be grander than both of these ideas, but they are interesting because they both give us a tantalising glimpse into what it could be.

IBM are currently making a big play for this area, under their smarter planet campaign. The IBM video below also gives a fantastic overview of what we are hyping today, but will be a key part of our day-to-day work much sooner than we initially anticipated.


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