It’s 6:00 am, your phone rings waking you up to your favourite rendition of a Brahms concerto. The almost opaque window panes turn transparent. Your TV opens up with the daily roundup of news and events, shows you a map of your route with possible traffic locks and alternate options, gives you the best possible time to start, along with the possible route. Your interactive coffee table spills the morning news. Simultaneously, your HVAC senses you are awake and switches on fresh air mode and ensures the temperature is optimum. The shower gets ready at the right temperature and you finish a warm steam bath. As you get ready for the office, your laptop automatically downloads your official data through a wireless secure link, your car is ready and the same playlist that was playing in your living room continues through the car stereo. Sensors detect you have left your house and slowly power off devices that you don’t use and keep them in a low power state – ready for wake up anytime.
Wait a minute!, this is not sci-fi, but this is reality. Welcome to IOT – Internet of Things. The latest adaptation of how technology has brought man and machine together. No, this is not some TX100 reincarnation but we could get there…
Digital electronics today control our lives whether we like it or not. Today we leave a trail of information with every device that we hold. Think of it, we are able to gain insights on how we use any digital device today, (limiting to smart phones, tablets, laptops) but imagine what it would be when you now connect just about any device on to this network – that’s where IOT comes in. Today, any digital device which can record, store or transmit information plays a huge role in IOT. Not because it becomes a part of the ecosystem, but that it transmits information that's used to plot trends and patterns on how devices are used, what goes on inside consumer’s minds, what devices they are planning to buy next – these and many other inferences can be found out by tapping into the usage pattern of these devices found at homes. At the same time, there’s also enormous scope for support providers to provide support to these devices. There’s a virtual battle between support providers today who are fighting for a monopoly to service all the digital devices in your home.
So what’s the bigger picture with IOT? Imagine this…
You switch on your CD player, put in a disc that has songs from well-known artists. Let's assume this player has a counter to understand out of the 500 songs, what songs you like the most, how many times you play them , Now if this player was connected to the Internet, it could even stream similar songs, it could send your playlist to Amazon or Google and fetch you similar songs – expanding your reach. It can even alert you when there’s a new CD or single that your favourite artists released – by scanning the CDDB - the Compact Disc Database. This is an online database that contains the ID of the CD. This lookup service is used by iTunes and Windows Media player to display additional information of the track and the CD that’s currently playing. The possibilities are just endless.
This is now just one device, imagine the possibilities when you connect every device in your home, how they would interact with each other, transmit information – making your life simpler and richer. But with everything there’s a clause. New and interconnected devices sharing personal information need to be secure and safe. A lot happens on the other side of the world. As mentioned earlier, these devices help us in umpteen ways, but at the same time we also lose a portion of privacy –that’s a price we have to pay for being digital. This trend will only increase in the future as we see more interactions from AI/fuzzy logic systems – systems that learn by themselves. These systems are not heavily programmed, nor pre-programmed but have the ability to infer, understand, and decide the correct course of action from the variables they work with.
As technology grows, as systems and processes become smaller and virtualized, the dependence of humans on these devices will increase. But at the end of the day, nothing replaces human touch. Human were and are wired for communication. So if technology is a stepping stone, let’s play on!!