The Internet of Things may sound like a concept that arrived with the dawn of smartphones, but it’s been a work in progress for decades now. The first internet toaster was unveiled in 1990, its only control was to turn the power on. Back then it didn’t seem that internet connected appliances would have much room in the household, but in the present day, the Internet of Things seems to be slowly turning homes into smart homes.
As IoT slowly begins to creep into homes, there are still those who don’t fully grasp this concept. The idea is that eventually everything in your home will be connected to one another via the internet.
The most common example given is the smart fridge idea. If you finish your milk one morning before you leave the house, the fridge may notice its absence via an in-built camera and send a reminder to your phone to make sure you pick more up on the way home.
This is just a basic example of how devices can work together through internet connectivity and as these technologies are constantly being furthered, more complex processes are being worked on that allows our products to talk to apps, us and each other.
The future of IoT isn’t limited to making your home more efficient, plans escalate all the way up to creating smart cities. This evolution would allow a city’s assets such as transport systems, schools and water supply networks to integrate Internet of Things solutions to improve the quality of life by making these services more efficient. Alongside this, IoT fuelled cities would be able to utilise real-time monitoring systems to gather, process and analyse data that will allow assets to run more efficiently.
In some industries, Internet of Things has already been implemented to some extent. The farming sector has found that internet connected sensors can help monitor crops and cattle, even monitoring their health of their herds.
However, one of the main problems with the introduction of IoT products will be compatibility, with multiple companies each trying to push their devices consumers may want to mix and match. This presents the problem of cross-brand integration, would competing companies be willing to allow their products to work with rival products? Or would they force consumers to buy their IoT technology from them alone?
The Internet of Things is readily entering our homes through fitness devices that integrate with fitness apps on your phone and smart energy meters. However, there is still evidence that it is not fully prepared to make our lives that much more efficient. The story of a man who spend 11 hours trying to set up his Wi-Fi enabled kettle shows that perhaps an ideal world where our morning alarm tells our shower to warm the water up and the coffee machine to prepare the first cup, is a still a long way away.
The successful integration of the Internet of Things into our lives, our homes and even our cities isn’t entirely dependent on the success of one individual product. IoT is a wider idea and its integration could happen slowly or all at once.
The future of this technology is certainly hard to predict but with devices such as Google Home, Amazon Alexis and even your smartphone potentially able to act as a hub to control all these innovative products, it seems that all the components are nearly ready to create a new way to control your home.