The Internet of Things is getting a lot of buzz this year, as more companies conjure up devices that can connect to the internet or with other devices either via the internet, WiFi or even Bluetooth. But as SiliconANGLE’s Mike Wheatley states, all these internet connected devices are useless if there’s no service that ties them all together to deliver something that is genuinely useful for consumers.
“[I]f someone were to create a connected calorie tracking/pedometer product that could sync with a connected fridge, and if that fridge can also plan your meals, put together your grocery shopping list and then order these items directly, suddenly all of your health, diet and shopping concerns would be taken care of – now that’s a service that people would be willing to pay for,” Wheatley stated.
We should admit that today’s technology is getting pretty close to the stuff we see in Sci-Fi movies, and I’m pretty sure that in a matter of years, those movie-bound gadgets will be available commercially. But with the IoT, we’ll have to shift our Hollywood expectations to get the types of products people would actually use.
So what gadgets would you like to see in the future? We’ve round up some awesome products and services we hope to see as a result of the IoT’s growing influence on today’s technology.
Smart AC analyzes for allergens
In some parts of the Earth, the climate is getting hotter and hotter, causing countless households to install air conditioners to keep them cool. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an AC unit that connects to the internet and informs you and the company if it needs cleaning, or new filters? It could also analyze the air inside your home and immediately inform you if there are allergens present, and even contact your doctor to let him know that you need an epinephrine shot.
It’d also be helpful if this connected AC could detect any contagious airborne diseases and immediately contact the CDC to prevent an outbreak. Or it could be as simple as being able to automatically adjust the temperature to make you and the people you are with comfortable without even bothering to push a button.
Smart toilet flushes away unhealthy worries
The idea of a smart toilet made me think of the Sci-Fi movie The Island. When Ewan McGregor’s character took a piss, the cafeteria was informed of his high cholesterol so he wasn’t given bacon for breakfast.
What if toilets and urinals got smart and were able to do that? But instead of informing the cafeteria, they would inform your doctor if something was off in your stool or urine? If it’s a minor anomaly that can be corrected by changing the person’s diet, the doctor could send a message to the person’s smart refrigerator so it can make shopping list of recommended foods. Then the smart fridge would contact the local grocery and have these items delivered. Now that’s healthy living, don’t you think?
Smart closet knows you best
Smart closets would have smart mirrors that would allow you to see what you look like in a piece of clothing without having to undress and actually try that garment on. The closet would be able to connect to the internet, via the smart mirror, so you would always be updated with the latest collection of your favorite designer or the latest fashion craze. The closet would be able to analyze if you have clothes that are in line with fashion trends, and pull it up to see how an outfit would suit you. Have some outdated items? Your smart closet could suggest items to donate to a nearby center, and arrange for pick up.
The smart closet would also be alerted with recommendations from your favorite shops, along with alerts for price drops on items you’ve bookmarked, and upcoming or ongoing sales. Like an item? Your smart closet can order and have it delivered.
Smart Ring has more than bling
We ladies love our jewelry – may it be cheap trinkets or something laced with diamonds. Many of us have favorite items we wear every day, and the IoT could take full advantage of a piece of jewelry that’s always on our body.
What if someone invented a ring that can analyze your blood to see if your blood sugar just hit the roof. By pressing on a stone, you’d be pricked and your blood would be analyzed for glucose levels. It would be connected to an app on your phone, which would tell you if you need an insulin shot or make an appointment with your physician to have more tests done.
Or what if the smart ring can analyze if you’re ovulating? I’m sure couples trying to get pregnant would benefit from this ingenious ring. Perhaps the ring could take things a step further and tell you if you’re pregnant, or alert you of your menstrual cycle. And what if that smart ring connects to your partner’s ring or app to inform him or her that you’re PMS-ing and they need to bring you a tub of ice cream or lots of chocolate? Now that’s what I call a girl’s best friend.
Smartest of smart cars
What is the perfect smart car? One that can connect to the internet and tell you where you need to go? A car that can analyze itself and inform you if it needs an oil change? Or is it a driverless car?
A smart car for me is something that can help you in an emergency. Say you were involved in a road accident. A smart car would immediately contact the nearest hospital to come to your aid, or the authorities to help you. Smart cars can also be equipped with an emergency button that can be programmed to either call the police or the hospital when it is activated. This comes in handy for times when you are too panic-stricken to drive, or because of a medical condition you can’t drive. If you push the emergency button, the car will drive itself and when it reaches its destination, it would fire up the alarm to get people’s attention.
A smart car can also be programmed to only run when certain people are in the driver’s seat – this would be perfect for parents who have unruly teens constantly taking the car without their permission, and it would also prevent your car from being easily stolen. The driver seat would analyze the weight and shape of the driver to know who is in the seat, and if the person sitting is not authorized, the car won’t start.
The purpose of the Internet of Things is not only connecting things to the internet, but connecting with other people, and using the data collected from all those connected devices to improve our products and services.
“Internet of Things extrapolates better when it’s about more than just individuals gaining more knowledge about themselves, since being connected also means being able to tap into information being generated nearby or by others doing the same thing,” says SiliconANGLE’s resident futurist and DevOps editor Kyt Dotson.
What he means by this is, for example the Smart AC, aside from being able to analyze allergens, multiple units can connect with each other or to a database where every data point collected will be analyzed to deliver socially responsible reports, such as the early arrival of flu season.
Technology is really fascinating, and it seems anything is possible. So it’s not really hard to imagine that in the future, every household will be equipped with smart appliances, especially if they will be able to enhance our quality of life.
Disclaimer: All the above mentioned technologies are not available in the market yet, and I’m not entirely sure if, or when, they will ever be available, we can only hope that they will be soon.