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There’s No Place Like (a Connected) Home

It doesn’t take long to realize it’s going to be one of those days.

You drag out of bed, bleary-eyed after a bad night’s sleep in a stuffy, overheated room. Desperately in need of a caffeine jolt, you then discover that you’re out of coffee. You turn on the TV but are too harried to take in the morning news. Rushing out of the house, late, you suddenly can’t find your keys. A mad, time-wasting search ensues before you drive off to work, finally. Then, stuck in traffic, your mind begins to fret: Did you turn off the TV? Turn out the lights? Water the plants? Lock the door?

Now, imagine the same morning routine in a home enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE), the explosion in connectivity that is transforming the world as we know it.

You wake up rested, since the temperature, air quality, and lighting in your bedroom have been carefully synchronized to your sleep patterns. You tap your smartphone to start up the coffee machine and turn on some light morning music. During a short but vigorous pre-breakfast workout, the temperature in your home gym drops automatically. Later, a sensor tells you exactly where you left your car keys the night before, just as a separate prompt informs you that the plants are fine — except for the thirsty hibiscus, which you water on your way out.

You don’t need to lock the house or turn off the appliances; a proximity sensor detects when you leave the house, locks and shuts off everything, and then sends an alert message to your car’s central screen. There’s no traffic, because your (connected) car is managed through the best routes — and finding a (connected) parking space is a breeze. During the morning meeting, the refrigerator tweets from home: milk and coffee are low. But not to worry — it has automatically ordered fresh cartons of your favorite brands from the local retailer.

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Wearable Tech: At the Nexus of IoE, with a Sense of Style

Science fiction writers have often mused about the merger of humans and machines. But while RoboCops and bionic superheroes aren’t likely to fight evil anytime soon, some exciting wearable smart technologies are already here. They may not match Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, but they are enabling ordinary people to interact with the wider world — and the Internet of Everything (IoE) — in intriguing (and sometimes stylish!) ways.

So, if you think your smart device is generating and processing a lot of data today, get ready for an even closer connection with your personal technology in the near future. Wearables are infusing sensors into bands, watches, shoes, shirts, bras, glasses, earrings, necklaces, and helmets. And these technologies are ready to generate reams of data — as well as real-time insights — about the ways in which we live, play, learn, work, exercise, maintain health, you name it.

I expect wearables to be a core topic of conversation at the Internet of Things World Forum in Barcelona later this month. As a further evolution of IoT, IoE is all about connecting people, processes, data, and things in amazing new ways. And while we often hear about IoE’s potential to transform supply chains, factories, retailers, and assorted megaprojects, wearables are a good reminder that the people element of connecting the unconnected is paramount. Armed with these new technologies — and the ability to connect via the key pillars of IoE, such as cloud, mobility, video, and analytics —individuals will be able to monitor and quantify their lives like never before. Wearables add another dimension to the Quantified Self movement, which I covered in a previous blog.

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When IoE Gets Personal: The Quantified Self Movement!

Microsensors in your shoes compile data on where you go and how much you walk or run. Your workout clothes track your daily progress at the gym and tell you when to slow down or speed up. The pill you swallow reports back on the state of your digestion, vital signs, and overall well-being. And as you sleep, a headband monitors your REM patterns.

A far-fetched sci-fi fantasy? Not at all. It’s merely a glimpse Read More »

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In the Internet of Everything, “Everything” Includes YOU

You wake up feeling rested thanks to systems that “know” the best temperatures and lighting for your personal sleep patterns. While brushing your teeth, a smart (very smart) mirror tracks your vital signs and pronounces all systems go. It then suggests a high-protein breakfast, since the intensive financial analysis on that day’s calendar will demand concentration. But first to the gym, where biometric sensors embedded in the fabric of your workout clothes track minute-by-minute progress.

A far-off future vision from Hollywood? Not at all. These technologies are on the horizon and may be impacting our daily lives in years to come. And they dovetail into a massive societal and technological shift that Cisco calls the Internet of Everything (IoE).

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