One of the newest applications for our new technology is “the Internet of Things”. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the way that real world items, from refrigerators to wrist watches to entire buildings, communicate and interact with everything else and with us. We all watched Tomorrow’s World in awe as we were introduced to the building of the future. It had a computer that tracked heating and cooling, light usage and door locks. That building is here today, thanks to the Internet of Things, and there are even more applications that any of us could have dreamed of!
Here’s just a few that will change the way we work in 2016:
Where is everybody? – Enlightened, an IoT tech company, has created LED lights that have motion sensors built right into them. These lights can tell the lighting system, the HVAC system, even the security system, where people are. This can help to control energy expenditures and maximise space usage.
One of the most exciting applications is to allow users to see exactly how their space is being used. It allows an analysis of the space utilisation. Wasted and rarely used space could be repurposed to maximise productivity and decrease waste.
Fit for duty (at Work) – Many companies are buying their employees wear able tech, such as wrist fitness monitors. All the rage for the last two years for the fitness crowd, these devices may become a normal site across the office as employers recognise the value of encouraging their employees to be fit and healthy.
By using these devices to monitor employees’ heart rates, movements, and activities, companies may be able to reduce the number of sick days taken. These devices count the number of steps taken each day, monitors heart rate, can set off an alarm to remind the wearer to take a break and go for a walk, and can even monitor quality of sleep.
The land of the (never) lost – RFID (radio frequency identification) chips have been around for a long time, but new technology is making them more useful every year. RFID tags placed on computers, even file folders, can make locating items fast and easy.
Imagine being able to log into a website and finding a missing file hidden in the basement. RFID tags can be read at a distance and as the technology improves, so does the readability of the tags.
A pre-emptive repair – Imagine having a system that monitors its own health so well that it can tell you when a part needs to be replaced before it becomes a problem. For example, when a server rack of hard drives gets old enough, it ceases to work properly.
With the new IoT technology, your system can monitor not only the health of software systems, but also the health of the hardware. This can eliminate downtime by allowing staff to replace a piece of hardware before it shuts down.
Glasses for locating everything – Google Glasses and related items are set to change how we see the world, literally. Going into 2016 and beyond, some companies are developing glasses that take the location information from warehouse RFIDs and project them right onto a pair of glasses.
Like something from the future, warehouse managers or item pickers will be able to simply look around and the item that they are looking for will be highlighted on the glasses.
The Internet of Things is what the Internet was meant for. Our world is quickly become the world of science fiction fantasies. Those stories are rapidly becoming our reality and 2016 is poised to be the most connected and interesting year in our history so far!