Internet of Things

Internet of Things

IoT or also known as the Internet of Things

Wikipedia tells us that the IoT is: the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Stacy Mulcahy speaking at Generate New York 2016 casts some light on the topic in her interesting talk. She discusses the way it works in that things whatever you might wish those to be being connected. But the most essential of these two elements is the data and analysis you can gather. What are your things or beings able to tell you via their connectivity through the web.

As a practical example. Remember the olden days when your mom or your gran worried that they might have left the stove or iron on? Well with the IoT you would be able to connect that thing i.e. the stove via the interwebs and have access to the data to analyse whether the house may be in any danger of burning down.

Would one run this connectivity through a smartphone? It’s been mooted as being the next big use for the phone. However, there is a new player in this space.

Is Voice the next Big Thing?

Amazon has sold 3 million units of Echo. You might wonder what the Echo could be. The Amazon Echo uses cloud-based AI Alexa to answer queries, control smart home devices and play games. New abilities are being added almost weekly as consumers are buying into this product at greater speed than the smartphone’s introduction.

The Echo has no screen. No buttons to push. Just a speaker that reacts to sound.

Echo’s uptake has been due to the simplicity of operation. It’s easy to learn how to use it. The voice recognition capabilities are more intuitive than those of other personal assistants such as Siri or Google Now. Using advances in microphone technology, speech recognition and cloud connectivity Echo is a gadget for the future.

Opening the API to developers is always a good move. This means products that can be used with Echo are streaming onto the market. Echo can now control internet connect lights, thermostats and other devices. But it can also tell you your bus time tables, help you with workouts, read recipes, do maths and a string of other fun and useful activities. And of course it allows you to order goodies from Amazon!

At this stage Echo is a home based solution. At the end of the day one has to be within speaker range. But perhaps the smartphone can plug into the speaker remotely? It does beg the question though as to what this might do to the smartphone? Go back to being just a camera?

Uptake is Slow

Its been a slow process. Most experts believe this is because installation, especially in the home environment, requires technical skills beyond most people. However, Amazon’s Echo could put paid to this hurdle. Voice activated instructions might be much easier than trying to navigate multiple interfaces on gadgets with screens.

Even smartphones are now coming out with better voice assistants and the trend could be away from visual command centres such as TV, tablet of smartphone screens to speakers activated by voice.