In my previous post I discussed what we want to keep from the data gathered by all of those smart devices. We talked about raw data, averaging and thinking about possible use-cases for that data in the long run. Today, I would like to take that one step further.
Today we’re seeing huge growth not only in devices, but also in their diversity, and while these different devices all specialize in something specific, most are not connected to each other. We have devices for our health, smart house gear such as fridges, systems that keep the warmth in-house at a certain level, smart security systems and so much more. At first sight, you would agree that none of those should be connected, but as devices become smarter, we will see lots of links forming between these different devices.
I am not going to discuss here protocols that can be used or a possible framework that might appear when different vendors start working together; instead I want to discuss the importance of the data and how the data that you collect from one device can drive an action from another device.
The value of linking these disparate devices might not seem that obvious today, but if we use our imagination, we can already see some potential scenarios where different devices will use each other’s data to improve certain services.
Bear in mind that I do realize that in the following examples we are looking at serious potential privacy issues and that security should be top priority at all times. That said, I’m going to ignore these concerns for a second in the interest of exploring the potential of these interconnected, smart devices.
Gardening robots are becoming more and more popular. A couple of years ago they seemed like very expensive toys, but today they come in different sizes and price ranges, placing them within the means of a large number of people. But when is the best time to let your robot do the work? I’m certainly not a specialist in gardening (so I could personally benefit from such a service), but a smart weather system might direct your little robot to start mowing the lawn when it knows conditions are best (meaning using both current weather data and data from weather predicting services). Another example would be conserving water usage so that the sprinkling system does not start if rain is expected within X number of hours.
Remember the good old days when people were sniffing through promotions, cutting coupons and bringing indexed boxes of them to the store to buy their groceries? If you’re over 30, you probably do. Now, think about that intelligent fridge. Based on your eating and ordering pattern, it could use web-based services from retailers in your region to search for promotions and offer you the best price for your groceries. And speaking of groceries, I am one of those people who literally has no time to get groceries, and gets very frustrated when I arrive at the store because I know I will spend a lot more time there than I had anticipated. What if my intelligent calendar could use the retailer’s data to check what would be the best time for my calendar to go shopping and automatically put that in my agenda as an appointment? Or take it even a step further: What if my health tracker could be connected so that when I exercise the system will order me more calorie-rich food or fewer calories when I’m in a lower-exercise rhythm?
Today when I arrive at home from work, I turn up the heat (or at least, I do so in winter in the part of the world where I live). We even already have smart systems now that we can remotely start 15 minutes before we arrive at home so that our house is already at a comfortable temperature when I walk through the front door. But what if we take this one step further? What if we let the system decide based on the actual temperature, current energy costs and weather data? Maybe it should heat up quickly because energy costs will rise soon. Or perhaps it should wait to do anything, because a warm front is just now arriving. And what about smart windows or curtains? The thermostat could open them to let in more light to heat your home or open them to cool off when it is too warm.
These are just three small examples, and if you continue the thought stream, you could even combine them. Your heating system might “gather” additional warmth and light from the sun and deliver that to your garden where you grow some vegetables. And to continue the story, your refrigerator won’t buy vegetables when your garden tells you that there are plenty ready to be consumed. Oh, and by the way, considering that next week there is going to be a heat wave, you’d better stock up some fresh beverages, including sports drinks as your calendar tells me that you are planning to exercise heavily …
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