The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a relatively new concept that continues to generate a lot of buzz this year as companies like Samsung create products and services specifically for it. Imagine a universal application that is connected to all of the lights, TVs, door locks, air conditioning, and kitchen appliances at once. Now imagine a that all of these devices learn peoples’ habits, what they like, and what they do not like. All that anyone needs to say something as simple as “sleep time”, and a shutdown routine begins. Setting timers for the morning coffee, and when to start defrosting the chicken in the defrost bin of the freezer for tomorrow’s dinner. It confirms that all the doors and windows are locked and sets the alarm, then automatically shuts off lights when there is no one in the room. This is the house that companies like Samsung and Google’s Nest are looking to build as part of the pinnacle of IoT technology.
This type of technology is no longer a distant possibility, but a reality that is becoming more real every day. At this years Consumer Electronics Show(CES) there were some amazing innovations. Ford, for example, is coming out with their vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology that will help future drivers to be alerts to traffic changes ahead they may not be able to see, by allowing the vehicles to communicate with each other before a collision occurs.
In addition, other new technologies, like “wearables”, are also being added to the list of devices that will interconnect with the Internet of Things in the home. Health apps running on a smart phone, or “Smartwatch”, may communicate their collected information to a “Smart Fridge” to give some customized food suggestions, if someone is trying to lose a few pounds. As the day draws closer and the Internet of Things becomes ever more advanced, consumers will be able to purchase “Switchable” and “Smart Windows” that will automatically adjust to keep every room of their homes private and cool throughout the day. This type of technology was featured at CES in 2012 by Samsung, as they gave guests a sample of this completely transparent, but fully functional touch screen allowing the use of social media, like Twitter, anywhere in the home, all while being unidirectional glass, meaning that people can see out but the neighbors can’t see in.
Clearly the Internet of Things is not going away, and may soon become a part of everyday life for many people around the world. Samsung launched their Smart Home services in America and South Korea this year. Samsung is also expected to reveal brand new IoT technology at IFA(Internationale Funkausstellung) this September in Berlin, Germany. However, they will have plenty of competition with Google’s recent purchase of Nest, a home automation company, for $3.2 billion USD. Google may have a leg up because of the build quality of its other major products such as the Nexus 4. As Samsung,Google, Microsoft, and Apple all find themselves embroiled in a battle for mobile technology as well as the homes of America and the rest of the world, consumers look forward in anticipation to see who will come out on top in the race for the future. One thing is for sure, the finish line is coming up fast.
Opinion By Phillip Schmidt