5. THE INTERNET OF THINGS

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NOTHING_350The Internet of Things (IOT) refers to physical objects that are connected to a network, containing embedded technology to communicate, and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.

So, these ‘things’ are contributing to the Data pool. But just how much?Information technology research and advisory firm, Gartner predict that the ‘things’ will soon outstrip smartphones, tablets and PCs:
“The growth in IoT will far exceed that of other connected devices. By 2020, the number of smartphones tablets and PCs in use will reach about 7.3 billion units,“ said Peter Middleton, research director at Gartner. “In contrast, the IoT will have expanded at a much faster rate, resulting in a population of about 26 billion units at that time.“
The same report identifies four elements encompassed in the IoT:
• Hardware (the things themselves)
• Embedded software
• Communications services
• Information services associated with the things.
“A thing, in the Internet of Things, can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low — or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and provided with the ability to transfer data over a network.”
Every ‘thing’ that is hooked up with a chip or RFID sensor is another node in a vastly growing network. When these things can inform one another, collect and act on data then the possibilities become endless.
“The further miniaturization and cost reduction of electronic devices makes it possible to expand the Internet into a new dimension: to smart obejcts, i.e., everday physical things that are enhanced by a small electronic device to provide local intelligence and connectivity to the cyberspace established by the Internet.
The small electronic device, a computation component that is attached to a physical thing, bridges the gap between the physical world and the information world.”

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But is the IoT just a fad? Gartner, the same research group quoted above expecting more than 26 billion items by 2020 also placed the IoT in 2014 as the ‘most over-hyped technology.’
The research would suggest they don’t expect the IoT to reach its ‘plateau of Productivity’ for 5 to 10 years. (Big Data is just beginning to climb down from the peak of expectaions slope into the ‘trough of disillusionment)
“..expectations hit a peak, where the technology is predicted to solve almost every problem known to humanity. As well as the internet of things, autonomous vehicles, consumer 3D printing and wearable computing are all innovations that Gartner thinks are over-hyped at the moment.”
Regardless of its hype, it is coming and it would be a good idea to prepare for it.
Dieter Bohn, commented on the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that “We finally know what comes after the smartphone”
Tech industry heavyweight, Samsung for example have recently aquired ‘SmartThings,’ the company provides a number of products to make your home ‘smart,’ all controlled, by an app (naturally). Moisture detectors, water detection kits, energy savers, motion sensors, home security and a plethora of other products controlled by a hub that connects all of the different sensors around your home.
There are hundreds of companies expanding into the smart things field, but perhaps what sets SmartThings apar, on paper at least is their comments on the network that will support the Internet of Things:
“An open physical graph is the only way to bridge the innovation, inventions and brilliance of the many device manufacturers, hardware makers, developers, and everyday people who are working to change our lives today and in the future.”
The openness and accessibility of data is paramount to any system that might support the Internet of Things.
Before the term Internet of things was first coined by Kevin Ashton in the context of supply chain management, researcher, Mark Weisser was already exploring what he called Ubiquitous Computing, the idea of embedding technology into the background of everyday life, a computing that “does not live on a personal device of any sort, but is in the woordwork everywhere.“ He described in the 80s an environment in which ‘‘the physical world that is richly and invisibly interwoven with sensors, actuators, displays, and computational elements, embedded seamlessly in the everyday objects of our lives, and connected through a continuous network’’.

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Adam Greenfield examined Weisser’s writing, commening that
“What Weiser was describing would be nothing less than computing without computers. In his telling telling, desktop machines per se would largely disapper, as the tiny, cheap microprocessors that powered them faded into the built enviornment But computation would flourish, becoming intimiately intertwined with the stuff of everyday life… Ubiquitous meant nort merely in ‚every place,‘ but also in every thing.‘
Greenfield uses the term ‚everyware‘ to describe the phenomemon of computing leaving the desktop and embedding itself into everyday life. Everyware, he says will appear in many different contexts and take a wide variety of forms, but it will affect almost every one of us, whether we’re aware of it or not.
In the Invisible computer, Norman argues that a truly human-centered design would explode the computere’s many functions into a quiet, invisible, unobtrusive“ array of networked objects scattered througout the home: simple, single-purpose information appliances in the forms of shoes, bookshelves, even teddy bears.
The global network will no longer be fed simply by keyboards, microphones and cameras.
In his series, ‘How Buildings Learn,’ Stewart Brand tells the charming story of New College, Oxford. In the great dining hall, the magnificent oak beams that had stood for years were found to be full of beetles. There was great dismay as these beams were 2 feet square and 40 feet long, it would be near impossible to find beams of the same calibre. Apparently, there was such thing as a college ‘forester,’ whom was able to explain, that naturally, the college had planted oaks when the school had been built, for just this occasion. The oak-notion had been passed from forester to forester for 500 years.
The legitimacy of the story is unknown, but for argument’s sake, lets imagine that its true, and while we’re at it, let’s imagine that IoT like technology had existed at the time. What if there were a sensor alerting the appropriate authorities of beetles in the oak? What if x amount of beetles triggered a chain reaction that caused the existing oak to be harvested and new trees planted? What if these trees had sensors of their own, reporting soil erosion and quality to the college’s groundskeeper, what if…?
A lot of ‘what ifs’ emerge when prophesising a connected network, but perhaps the question we should be asking is who is out of a job?
I will leave the internet of things with a quote from Jeremy Rifkin. He believes that the the ‘Third Industrial Revolution,’ will reverse the process of market exchange and mark the begging of a new social and economic model.
“The internet of things will connect everything with everyone in an integrated global network… Big Data transformed into predictive algorithms, programmed into automated systems to improve thermodynamic efficiencies, dramatically increase productivity and reduce the marginal cost of producing and delivering a full range of goods and services to near zero across the entire economy..”

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PRESSURE - the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object. Pressure sensors can be embedded into the physical environment in the likes of doors or floors or any element that experiences physical force. It can be used to gauge the position of people on floors to aid in way-finding or to monitor if someone were to fall to the floor in an accident.

PRESSURE

PRESSURE

BLUETOOTH -A wireless technology for exchanging data over short distances. Most Internet of Things devices will have a sensor like Bluetooth to provide the link between objects, people, elements and the data server (usually the cloud) . Bluetooth (or wifi/cellular) provides the link between objects and is what connects the built environment to the internet.

BLUETOOTH

BLUETOOTH

TIME - the indefinite continued progress  Time is a 'broad' sensor. All sensors will record time, as well as respond to time. Time sensors used to monitor   the sequence in which elements are used allows elements to anticipate their use, creating a highly responsive   built environment.

TIME

TIME – the indefinite continued progress Time is a ‘broad’ sensor. All sensors will record time, as well as respond to time. Time sensors used to monitor the sequence in which elements are used allows elements to anticipate their use, creating a highly responsive built environment.

MOTION - the act or process of changing position or place.  Motion sensors are used to detect and analyse either the type of movement a person makes within a space or   the movement of a person through a space. Motion can be relayed onto other objects and inform how these   objects operate, for example, a wall measuring the motion of someone when they awake triggering the lights to   switch on.

MOTION

MOTION – the act or process of changing position or place. Motion sensors are used to detect and analyse either the type of movement a person makes within a space or the movement of a person through a space. Motion can be relayed onto other objects and inform how these objects operate, for example, a wall measuring the motion of someone when they awake triggering the lights to switch on.

SOUND - vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's   or animal's ear.  Sound sensors are used to measure noise levels across a range of frequencies. Sound sensors can be used to   activate security measures, for example, if elements register a sound such as glass breaking, an alarm could be   triggered. Sound sensors could also be sensitive enough to sense vibration alerting of foundation movement.

SOUND

SOUND – vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear. Sound sensors are used to measure noise levels across a range of frequencies. Sound sensors can be used to activate security measures, for example, if elements register a sound such as glass breaking, an alarm could be triggered. Sound sensors could also be sensitive enough to sense vibration alerting of foundation movement.

RFID – (radio frequency identification) - the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. RFID tags are used in a similar manner to barcodes, to record and track the usage and locations of possessions. Unlike a barcode, the tag contains electronically stored information, which can be transmitted to the reader from remote sites, offering greater flexibility of use.

RFID

RFID – (radio frequency identification) – the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. RFID tags are used in a similar manner to barcodes, to record and track the usage and locations of possessions. Unlike a barcode, the tag contains electronically stored information, which can be transmitted to the reader from remote sites, offering greater flexibility of use.

SMOKE – a visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, typically one emitted from a burning substance.  Smoke detectors analyse the air for smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. The sensors activate automatic   opening vents to extract the smoke from the building. When smoke is detected, an audible or visual alarm is   triggered and the emergency services are alerted.

SMOKE

SMOKE

PARTICLES – a minute portion of matter.  Particle detectors are used to detect, track and/or identify high energy particles, such as those produced by   nuclear decay or cosmic radiation. In unsafe conditions, sensors can alert people in the surrounding area to   evacuate and alert the emergency services immediately.

PARTICLES

PARTICLES – a minute portion of matter. Particle detectors are used to detect, track and/or identify high energy particles, such as those produced by nuclear decay or cosmic radiation. In unsafe conditions, sensors can alert people in the surrounding area to evacuate and alert the emergency services immediately.

TOUCH – the physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the   body.  Touch sensors are used to operate elements within the built environment. Different types of touch motion i.e tap,   swipe, push trigger different actions. Touch recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

TOUCH

TOUCH – the physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body. Touch sensors are used to operate elements within the built environment. Different types of touch motion i.e tap, swipe, push trigger different actions. Touch recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

WIND – the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a  particular direction. Wind meters are used to measure wind speed and direction over a certain area. If high levels   of wind are detected, protection measures are triggered to improve the comfort of an environment. During   extreme levels of wind, people may be instructed to evacuate or emergency services may be alerted.

WIND

WIND – the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction. Wind meters are used to measure wind speed and direction over a certain area. If high levels of wind are detected, protection measures are triggered to improve the comfort of an environment. During extreme levels of wind, people may be instructed to evacuate or emergency services may be alerted.

TEMPERATURE – a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms or molecules in a system.  Temperature sensors are used to monitor both the ambient temperature of a space and the temperature of   individuals within that space. The sensors can trigger temperature adjustments for the whole space or local to the   user, to improve user comfort levels.

TEMPERATURE

TEMPERATURE – a measure of the average kinetic energy of atoms or molecules in a system. Temperature sensors are used to monitor both the ambient temperature of a space and the temperature of individuals within that space. The sensors can trigger temperature adjustments for the whole space or local to the user, to improve user comfort levels.

HEART RATE – the number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute.  Heart rate monitors are used to measure the heart rate of individuals, to help identify comfort levels and also   potential health risks. If an individual experiences heart problems, the emergency services can be alerted   immediately.

HEART RATE

HEART RATE – the number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute. Heart rate monitors are used to measure the heart rate of individuals, to help identify comfort levels and also potential health risks. If an individual experiences heart problems, the emergency services can be alerted immediately.

SPEECH - the sound produced by the vocal organs of a vertebrate, especially a human.  Voice commands are used to instruct elements to perform a certain task or to initiate certain events. Voice   recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

SPEECH

SPEECH – the sound produced by the vocal organs of a vertebrate, especially a human. Voice commands are used to instruct elements to perform a certain task or to initiate certain events. Voice recognition allows preferences to be recorded for multiple users.

FLAME – a hot glowing body of ignited gas that is  Flame sensors are used to detect and respond to the presence of a flame or fire. When a flame or fire is   detected, the sensor can trigger various responses, in the form of an alarm, a sprinkler system or deactivation of   a fuel line. A flame detector can often respond faster and more accurately than a smoke or heat detector,   enabling immediate evacuation of an affected area.

FLAME

FLAME – a hot glowing body of ignited gas that is Flame sensors are used to detect and respond to the presence of a flame or fire. When a flame or fire is detected, the sensor can trigger various responses, in the form of an alarm, a sprinkler system or deactivation of a fuel line. A flame detector can often respond faster and more accurately than a smoke or heat detector, enabling immediate evacuation of an affected area.

BRIGHTNESS – the   effect  Light sensors are used to monitor and adjust the brightness of a space. An optimum level of illuminance can be   achieved to improve user comfort or to enhance the experience of a space, for example, the lighting in a gallery   adjusted to consider the level of natural daylighting.

BRIGHTNESS

BRIGHTNESS – the effect Light sensors are used to monitor and adjust the brightness of a space. An optimum level of illuminance can be achieved to improve user comfort or to enhance the experience of a space, for example, the lighting in a gallery adjusted to consider the level of natural daylighting.

AIR QUALITY – the degree to which air in a particular place is pollution-free.  Air quality sensors sample the air regularly to analyse pollution content i.e dust, pollen, gas. The sensors trigger   the extraction of pollutants to improve air quality and user comfort. The sensors can alert the user or emergency   services in a case where the level of pollutant is dangerous.

AIR QUALITY

AIR QUALITY – the degree to which air in a particular place is pollution-free. Air quality sensors sample the air regularly to analyse pollution content i.e dust, pollen, gas. The sensors trigger the extraction of pollutants to improve air quality and user comfort. The sensors can alert the user or emergency services in a case where the level of pollutant is dangerous.

WATER – a clear, colourless, odourless, and tasteless liquid, H2O, essential for most plant and animal life.  Moisture sensors are used to monitor the moisture content of both natural and built elements. The sensors can   be used to trigger responses to improve user comfort or safety. In natural environments, high levels or water   detection can trigger a flood warning. In the built environment, early water detection can prevent water damage to   infrastructure.

WATER

WATER – a clear, colourless, Moisture sensors are used to monitor the moisture content of both natural and built elements. The sensors can be used to trigger responses to improve user comfort or safety. In natural environments, high levels or water detection can trigger a flood warning. In the built environment, early water detection can prevent water damage to infrastructure.

EEG – (electroencephalogram) a test that detects electrical activity in the brain using electrodes.  EEGs are used to map the brain activity of individual to gauge comfort, mood and responses to the environment.   Impulse responses to changes in the surrounding can be recorded and used to improve the environmental   conditions according to individual user preferences.

EEG

EEG – (electroencephalogram) a test that detects electrical activity in the brain using electrodes. EEGs are used to map the brain activity of individual to gauge comfort, mood and responses to the environment. Impulse responses to changes in the surrounding can be recorded and used to improve the environmental conditions according to individual user preferences.

PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time, or relationship.  Proximity sensors use infrared to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact. Elements   are able to detect the distance between themselves, other elements and individuals. When certain proximity is   recorded between two elements or an element and an individual, the element is triggered to respond with an   action.

PROXIMITY

PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time, or relationship. Proximity sensors use infrared to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact. Elements are able to detect the distance between themselves, other elements and individuals. When certain proximity is recorded between two elements or an element and an individual, the element is triggered to respond with an action.

LOCATION – a particular place or position where something is or where something is occurring.  Position sensors are used to record the location of people and objects. Sensors are able to track both individual’s   movements and place-specific events, enabling the surrounding environment to alter to suit the preferences of   each individual and of each event.

LOCATION

LOCATION – a particular place or position where something is or where something is occurring. Position sensors are used to record the location of people and objects. Sensors are able to track both individual’s movements and place-specific events, enabling the surrounding environment to alter to suit the preferences of each individual and of each event.

CAMERA – a device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals.  Cameras are incorporated into elements, enabling both still images and video recordings to be captured at all   times. These images and recordings can be relayed instantly to other elements which are responsible for   adjusting the environment, either to enhance user comfort or to improve security.

CAMERA

CAMERA – a device for recording visual images in the form of photographs, film, or video signals. Cameras are incorporated into elements, enabling both still images and video recordings to be captured at all times. These images and recordings can be relayed instantly to other elements which are responsible for adjusting the environment, either to enhance user comfort or to improve security.

BARCODE - a machine-readable code in the form of numbers widths, printed on a commodity and used especially for stock control. Barcodes are used to scan items as they pass from one threshold to another i.e. doors, corridors, windows. The use of possessions is recorded and their locations tracked. A low stock item is replenished or redistributed accordingly.

BARCODE

BARCODE – a machine-readable code in the form of numbers widths, printed on a commodity and used especially for stock control. Barcodes are used to scan items as they pass from one threshold to another i.e. doors, corridors, windows. The use of possessions is recorded and their locations tracked. A low stock item is replenished or redistributed accordingly.