The Internet of Things

“The Internet of Things (IOT) is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure.”

If that’s a little too abstract to visualize, consider these concrete examples of the Internet of Things already at work in the world:

  • Pill-shaped microcameras can traverse the human digestive system and make thousands of images to pinpoint a source of illness that might otherwise be undetectable.
  • Precision farming equipment can link wirelessly to data collected from remote satellites, and ground sensors can adjust the way different areas of a farm field are worked – for instance, by spreading extra fertilizer where there’s a shortage of nutrients.
  • Billboards in Japan scan passersby, assess how they fit consumer profiles, and then instantly change displayed messages based on those assessments.

Here at Daasn we are integrating IOT into many of our clients’ projects. One is a transit app that turns school bus traffic into data points, to better measure transportation routes; watching traffic patterns can help assess the changing usage on a given route.

We’re doing this in our charitable work, too. Under development is a “pathway” app to link young underprivileged people to support networks in health, education, and career counseling. This app has allowed us to implement IOT features like a tracking component to see the distance covered by a young person to see how the program has “expanded their world” and aligned with their health. This feature will aid youth from areas like Baltimore’s inner city to see their progress and track their growth.

Are you interested in smart homes, wearables, and other new technology? DAASN is hosting monthly meetups at its Towson office – 31  Allegheny Ave., Towson, MD – to discuss the future of technology and the Internet of Things. We would like to discuss and explore topics such as wearables, smart software and hardware solutions, robotics, smart cities and much more. This is a great chance to learn, discuss, and network in the technology community.

All of these examples are signs of how the predictable pathways of information are changing. The physical world itself is transforming into a massive information system. Sensors embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet.

These networks churn out huge volumes of data that can be analyzed by computer to help us understand complex processes and how to respond to them. Some of these physical information systems even work largely without human intervention.

There are traces of futurism here, and early warnings for companies of all kinds. A business model based on largely static information architectures will face challenges. An example of what’s possible: When a customer’s buying preferences are sensed in real time at a specific location, dynamic pricing may increase the odds of a purchase. Knowing how often or intensively a product is used also can create new business options—charging a usage fee, rather than demanding outright sale, for example.

Companies that take advantage of these capabilities stand to gain against competitors that don’t. The widespread adoption of the Internet of Things will take time, but advances in wireless networking technology and the greater standardization of communications protocols already make it possible to collect data from all kinds of sensors, almost anywhere, and at any time. Those possibilities will only increase with the development of ever-smaller silicon chips selling for ever-lower prices.

Content used from the work of Michael Chui, Markus Löffler, Roger Roberts, and Sean Astrakhan.

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