How the Internet of Things is opening possibilities beyond the smart home
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Futurist Rob Martens explains how the convenience of a smart home is made possible with an open platform.
By Rob Martens, Futurist and VP of Strategy and Partnerships at Allegion, maker of Schlage.
Most people have heard of the Internet of Things by now, but few are familiar with the possibilities this platform opens for businesses and consumers alike. This platform, that has long been associated with the smart home, offers real and tangible value beyond the cool factor. Consumers and businesses fail to recognize that the Internet of Things acts as a key component to the daily operations of companies in several industries, such as fitness, agriculture and fashion.
A sensor does not make a product or technology part of the “Internet of Things”, it’s all about creating a holistic experience for the end user. It’s time consumers and businesses drop this notion and realize the positive impacts this technology has or could have. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat, the IoT is creating new conveniences and helping us maximize our resources every day.
Beyond Fitness Trackers, IoT Taps into Equipment
Most people are familiar with wearables that track fitness like Fitbit. The IoT is also taking exercise machines a step further into the future by creating realistic and tangible user experiences. The Peloton Cycle Exercise Bike, for example, comes with a screen that allows you to connect to real-life classes hosted by fitness trainers, giving users access to world-class instructors and allowing them to compete with other users from the comfort of home. With the busy schedules many of us keep, it’s easy for self-care to fall to the bottom of the priority list. Connected fitness machines make it easier to prioritize fitness by saving time spent traveling to the gym, and encouraging healthy competition between users all over the world.
Hotels are even catching on, providing Peloton bikes within the room so guests can get their exercise without heading down to the gym. This is a smart idea in that it differentiates those hotels and draws guests away from the competition by offering a premium experience. The bike’s ability to import data from your wearables means you have access to the latest health metrics whether you’re using a hotel’s bike or your own. And perhaps best of all, when Peloton added tech, they didn’t sacrifice good design. The bike is one of the most attractive fitness machines on the market, and sturdily made so it can handle intense exercise sessions.
IoT Provides Solutions to Farmers and Harvesters
The IoT is even helping to maximize our agricultural resources. Farmers face immense challenges in creating a steady crop yield year over year – unpredictable weather, water shortages, and limited availability of land can impact the yield significantly. Brilliant IoT innovators have been focusing their expertise in this industry for years to create some pretty amazing resources to help solve those problems, increasing the quality, quantity and sustainability of agricultural production.
Large farms can now use remote sensors to monitor the amount of moisture in the soil and even the amount of growth the crop has achieved. Harvesters can now be controlled from anywhere in the world, provided there’s an Internet connection available. Inventors have even begun using artificial intelligence to analyze metrics about the crop and even weather patterns to make predictions about the future, taking some of the guesswork out of a traditionally unpredictable industry. This is not just great news for farmers – it’s great news for everyone because it increases crop yields to make food more widely available.
Fashion Meets Technology
The fashion world is even beginning to catch onto the many benefits of the IoT. Most people today appreciate the ability to customize; we want our clothes, our homes, our cars, everything we own to not only behave in ways that make the day go smoothly and conveniently, but to reflect who we are as people. We live in an increasingly connected world in which we interact with new people more frequently. First impressions are more important than ever, so the ability to express who you are through the clothes you wear has become equally important.
Services like NikeID allow you to customize your product (in their case, shoes) from the ground up. You start with a blank canvas, choose the basic structure of the shoe based on the functionality you want, and then you get to customize the fun stuff – materials used, colors and graphic prints. You can even choose how the bottom of the shoe looks. Another service called Trunk Club behaves as a personal fashion assistant, a luxury typically reserved for the rich and famous that’s becoming available to all thanks to the IoT. The service shows you several style combinations and asks for your opinion, building a profile of your tastes that allows it to make suggestions based on what it knows you like. It even seeks out the clothes that are best for your body type, as well as those that fit within your budget, so you aren’t pressed into spending more than you normally would.
Rob Martens uses his unique talent for identifying patterns and associations to look for mega trends in technology, as well as the ways they can be used to improve the average person’s day.