what's new in the internet of things

What’s New in the Internet of Things?

Gary Smith IoT 4 Comments

The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) was first coined by Kevin Ashton, in 1999. Ashton is a British technology pioneer who cofounded the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). IoT refers to physical objects that are fitted with electronic devices, software etc. that allow them to exchange data with the manufacturer, the operator and with other devices. They are designed so that, through this increased connectivity, they can expand and improve the user’s experience as well as allowing the manufacturer to collect data and provide updates, amongst other things.

IoT devices can include any equipment that can connect to the internet, whether they’re used in the home or in a business environment, such as:

  • Heart monitoring implants
  • Sensors in cars
  • Washing machines
  • Fridges
  • Coffee markers

In short anything that can be connected to the internet or home Wi-Fi can be considered to be a part of the IoT. New products are being released all of the time and we have compiled our list of our three contemporary developments in the IoT to look out for.

#1 GeniCan

genican smart bin

GeniCan is a wonderful new device that allows your rubbish bin to connect to your home Wi-Fi network. Now, I hear you ask, “why on earth would I want to connect my bin to the Wi-Fi?” and it’s a fair question. GeniCan has a built in barcode reader that allows you to scan the packaging of items as you place them in the bin. It then adds the item to a shopping list on the companion app on your smartphone.

This allows you to compile your shopping list as you use up your groceries and should reduce the number of times you forget things that you need whilst at the supermarket. If the item does not have a barcode (a banana peel for example), then the device will ask you what it is, and has voice recognition software so that you can reply and add it to the list.

Installation could not be simpler, the gizmo simply attaches to the side of the bin with a magnetic plate. Then you simply connect it to your home network and install the app. Sorting out your shopping list has never been simpler (or more complicated, depending on how you look at it.)

Genican is currently fundraising on Indigogo to raise money for production costs. If it sounds like something you would love to own, then check it out and you could (depending on how much you pledge) own your very own smart bin.

#2 Sesame

sesame smart lock

Sesame brings smart technology to your front door; literally. A new smartlock, Sesame lets you unlock your front door with an app on your phone, instead of your regular key. You can even program it to recognise a secret sequence of knocks, either on the phone screen or on the door itself.

You can allow certain people access to your home, no matter where you are. Say you have invited a friend over, but got held up in traffic? Instead of leaving them waiting out in the rain, you can simply enter the secret knock on your phone pocket (so you don’t have to violate any traffic laws by picking up the phone) and let them in.

Sesame also boasts insanely easy installation, no need to pull your door apart or drill holes. You simply attach it to your existing latch and it is done, with not a single tool used. The batteries last about 500 days and the app notifies you when they are running out, to avoid disasters.

Of course, the main concern with a device such as this will be security. The last thing you want is for someone to hack your device and gain unauthorised access to your home. Well, thankfully Sesame boasts military grade AES 256-bit TLS 1.2 security to put your mind at ease. Sesame will also notify you every time the door opens or closes, or anyone attempts to unlock it, so you can always feel secure that things are, well, secure.

#3 M2M

IoT and smart cities

Did any of you play Watch Dogs last year? Well, I thought that the game was a bit rubbish, but the idea of a smartcity was certainly an intriguing one. In the game Chicago’s infrastructure is hooked up to the internet and everything from the steam pipes to the traffic lights are remote controllable. With a recent American survey finding that around 180,000 people are moving into cities every day and 70% of the world’s population expected to be living in megacities by 2050, the need for more effective and efficient city management is crucial.

Enter M2M (machine to machine) devices, designed to enable a city’s infrastructure to communicate with itself and run more efficiently. Traffic could be automatically and intelligently routed around jams. Utilities such as street lights could detect faults and automatically arrange their own repairs. Bins and skips could detect when they are full and call for a truck to empty them and the list of possibilities goes on.

Funnily enough, Chicago has announced that it will be the first major American city to implement M2M technology and that it plans to install around 500 sensors over a span of three years. It’s far from alone though and it’s thought that in the period between 2013 and 2025 we’ll see smart cities “rise fourfold in numbers”.

What do you think of the explosion of smart technology in our lives?

Do you drool over the marvel and luxury of it?

Or maybe you are wary of our ever increasing reliance on automated systems? As technology gets smarter, are you worried that we are getting less so? Or do you think that leaving the menial tasks to the machines frees us up to invent even more impressive things?

As always, let us know in the comments below.

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Gary’s academic background is in psychology and research, but he has always been drawn to the world of technology. From games consoles to smartphones, he finds himself drawn to most things with a microchip. Never missing an opportunity to stick the boot into shady practices and pseudoscience, Gary understands that tough love is often the most sincere form that there is

Comments 4

  1. Shomik

    Well…the concepts are really good and so are the tools. No doubt they made use of top brains to build tools like Genican or Sesame. But won’t these IOTs make us over dependent on machines. And practically will these work? It’s good to see what the user manual or the manufacturer’s PR guys tell the media about the iot. But where and what is the neutral view? It’s far too early for these smart devices.

    1. Kerry Butters

      You could be right Shomik, certainly it’s early days yet when it comes to widespread consumer adoption. And of course we’re faced with the inevitable hacking of consumer devices. But IoT and machines already have a plethora of practical uses and why should it be a bad thing that it makes us dependant on machines? We already are, the world had simply changed into a different production model and will continue to do so. Evolution!!


      1. Stephen Meagher

        Could not agree more Kerry. That horse has left the stable. The issue is how we apply the services these new hardware technologies create. The real measure of success for the IOT will be when we stop talking about it. Consumers don’t care. They want to be able to chose what matters to them and the service that fulfills their needs. When we start to put the parts of the jigsaw together for that picture we will start to finally deliver the long overdue promise of smart living.

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