Have you heard of the Internet of Things? The idea behind it is that more and more of the electrical gadgets in our life are going to be internet-connected.
The example that the media always used when talking about the Internet of Things is a internet-connected fridge, which knows when you’re running low on milk, and automatically re-orders a few pints. And when explained like that, it all sounds a little far-fetched – as if it’s trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist. It also makes the Internet of Things sound like some futuristic utopian dream, rather than something that’s already happening.
These days, many homes are highly-connected, and have many devices connect to the internet. And although most people don’t have an internet-connected fridge, they still have a staggering amount of electrical devices that are connected to the net.
A quick check of my home, and there’s several smartphones, two tablets, two laptops, a desktop computer, a NAS drive, a PlayStation, an Apple TV, the cable TV box, and an internet radio all sharing the broadband connection. I also have one of those health monitors that can upload my activity (or lack of activity) to the internet via my smartphone.
The desktop computer and NAS are set up so that I can access files remotely when outside of the home, and I can also tell the cable box to record a TV programme from anywhere in the world.
Also, if I had the time and money, I could go out now and buy an internet-connect security system, electricity monitors, light switches, and thermostats – so that I could monitor and manage my home remotely. And there are more and more home automation products being released every day.
It also won’t be long until every new car will be internet-connected, and every security-concious parent will be equipping their children with GPS-enabled tracking watches.
And while an internet fridge may not be available in your local electrical store any time soon, it’s clear that the Internet of Things is already upon us.