Why Global Warming Must Be IoT Focus for Everyone

Thanksgiving 2015I want to offer you six great reasons — five of them are seated with my wife and me in this photo — why we all should make global warming a primary focus of IoT projects for the foreseeable future.

There simply is no way to sugar-coat the grim news coming out of the Paris climate talks: even with the most dramatic limits that might be negotiated there, scientists warn we will fall short of the limits in temperature rises needed to avoid global devastation for my grandchildren — and yours.

Fortunately, the Internet of Things can and must be the centerpiece of the drastic changes that we will have to make collectively and individually to cope with this challenge:

“Perhaps one of the most ambitious projects that employ big data to study the environment is Microsoft’s Madingley, which is being developed with the intention of creating a simulation of all life on Earth. The project already provides a working simulation of the global carbon cycle, and it is hoped that, eventually, everything from deforestation to animal migration, pollution, and overfishing will be modeled in a real-time “virtual biosphere.” Just a few years ago, the idea of a simulation of the entire planet’s ecosphere would have seemed like ridiculous, pie-in-the-sky thinking. But today it’s something into which one of the world’s biggest companies is pouring serious money.”

Let me leave you with a laundry list of potential IoT uses to reduce global warming compiled by Cisco’s Dr. Rick Huijbregts:

  • Urban mobility “apps” predict how we can move from A to B in a city in the most environmental friendly manner. Real time data is collected from all modes of city transportation.
  • Using solar energy to power IT networks that in turn power heating, cooling and lighting. Consequently, reduce AC/DC conversions and avoid 70% electricity loss.
  • IP­based, and POE (Power of Ethernet) LED lighting in buildings reduced energy by 50% because of LED and another 50% because of control and automation.
  • Sensors (Internet of Things) record environmental highs and lows, as well as energy consumption. Data analytics allow us to respond in real­time and curtail consumption.
  • Real time insight in energy behaviour and consumption can turn into actionable reduction. 10% of energy reduction can be achieved by behavioural change triggered by simple awareness and education.
  • Working from home while being connected as if one were in the office (TelePresence, Cisco Spark, WebEx, just to name a few networked collaboration tools) takes cars off the road.
  • Grid modernization by adding communication networks to the electrical grid to allow for capacity and demand management.
  • Planning, optimizing, and redirecting transportation logistics based on algorithms, real­time weather and traffic data, and streamlined and JIT shipment and delivery schedules.

These are all great challenges and offer the potential for highly profitable IoT solutions.  For the sake of my six grandchildren, let’s get going!

The IoT Gets Real: My Own Experience

Sometimes, when we focus on the truly dramatic things that will be possible when the Internet of Things is fully implemented, such as fully automated smart homes or the end of traffic jams, it may divert attention from how the IoT is already making a tangible difference in our daily lives even with only early-stage devices and apps, and why everyone should be seriously considering IoT devices now.

Here’s my personal story.

Belkin WeMo Switch

I finally put my money where my mouth is this Christmas, and invested in two WeMo Switches from Belkin. What I like about them is that, unlike spending $250  for a new Nest Thermostat or a new August Dead Bolt, the WeMo switch allows me to increase the IQ of my decidedly old-fashioned current coffee maker and table lamps (OK, I still lust after the 16 million light combinations possible with HUE lights, but those will have to wait until I’m not paying college tuition for my youngest). Yeah, the $199 smart coffee maker would be cool, but not cool enough to justify tossing a perfectly good one.

Most important, the WeMos deliver on one of my IoT Essential Truths, namely, What Can You Do Now That You Couldn’t Do Before?

You see, we used to have a major bone of contention in the Stephenson household. My wife, understandably, didn’t like to come home to a dark house. Cheap Yankee and zealous environmentalist that I am, I didn’t want to leave the lights on all day just so they’d be on when she got home, and my ADD made it really iffy that I’d turn them on when leaving in the afternoon.

Major conflict.

But that was sooo 2014!  Now, I have a spiffy IFTTT “recipe” enabled:

IFTTT_Wemo_recipe

IFTTT/Wemo recipe

IFTTT_Wemo_recipe

Everyone wins (including the environment)! Instant domestic bliss: the lights go on precisely at sunset (I mean precisely:  it uses NWS data — how cool is that?), I get to save energy, my wife gets a warm and welcoming house when she returns.

Admittedly, it’s not world-changing, but it really does solve a tangible issue that we couldn’t solve to both our satisfactions in the past. IMHO, it’s precisely this kind of real-world, incremental improvement due to the Internet of Things that is going to speed IoT adoption this year

If your company is rolling out far-reaching IoT product either for the industrial or consumer market, think of what individual or limited offerings you could release now that would allow buyers to make a limited investment, realize substantive returns, and then build on those initial findings.

Thanks Kevin Ashton!


 

Sweet! Just saw news that Belkin plans to add WeMo compatibility for Apple’s HomeKit app in near future.

My personal vision for the Apple Watch is that, by linking to both the Health App and the HomeKit, it may bring about cross-fertilization of health and smart-home apps and devices similar to how the Jawbone UP alarm can now trigger the Nest thermostat.

This would be an important step toward my “Smart Aging” vision that would improve seniors’ health and allow them to “age in place” instead of being institutionalized.

ivee Sleek: 1st Wifi voice-activated assistant for home

Posted on 9th July 2013 in home automation, Internet of Things, M2M

I’m still dubious about the Internet of Things refrigerator meme (although, as someone who shops daily for dinner and only decides what to cook about 2 hours before hand on the basis of a web search for something novel, it would be cool to instantly know what ingredients I had on hand…), BUT home automation is definitely cool (and the Nest’s success shows consumers are ready for it).

I bet having the IoT affect people’s home life will also drive a lot of IoT adoption at work (the same way a lot of CEOs were introduced to the wonders of e-commerce back in the day when their kids showed them how to buy books on Amazon).

SOO, the news that ivee Sleek has launched a Kickstart campaign (as is typical for IoT ivee_sleek_smallcampaigns on Kickstart, it’s already waay over its goal!!)  for its wifi voice activated assistant for the home is big news! There’s already one backer who’s pledged $10,000, and gets the Big Enchilada perk:

“All-inclusive Factory Tour in Asia! — We will first fly you out to meet us in Hong Kong for dinner and a night on the town with the ivee team. The next day we will head to Shenzhen in order to visit our factory and tour the manufacturing floor. You will have a chance to pick any ivee (in either pearl white or night black) as she is being made right before your eyes! We’ll spend the night in Shenzhen before heading back to Hong Kong for the remainder of the trip. This trip will include air fare + hotel + meals for 7 days. Limited to 5.”

I ask you, does crowdsourcing rule, or what???

The team says that “Our goal is to create a simpler and more natural way of interfacing with the Internet and your smart home. We want to deliver the virtual assistant experience that you’ve been dreaming about for years. (their italics)”

Here’s the nitty-gritty: the device will ship in October, and initial voice commands that you’ll be able to speak include:

  • Reminders – e.g. “Remind me to pick up the kids from school at 2:45pm.”
  • Controls Devices – e.g. “Set the thermostat to 71 degrees.”
  • Alarms – e.g. “Wake me up at 6:30am.”
  • Time – e.g. “What time is it in Hong Kong?”
  • Weather – e.g. “What’s the weather going to be like in New York on Friday?”
  • Stocks – e.g. “What’s the stock price of Google?”
  • Sleep Sounds – e.g. “Play ocean waves for 15 minutes.”
  • Bed Time Stories – e.g.  “Read me a bed time story, please.”
  • Settings – e.g.  “Turn up the volume.”
  • FM Radio – e.g. “Tune the radio to 102.7 FM.”
  • Personality – e.g. “How old are you?”

I know there are some who grumble that getting this kind of information automatically will make us slaves to our machines, but it seems to me that it will actually just remove a lot of the minor hassles from our lives and improve our quality of life (and, as the website points out, it can be a real benefit for those with vision problems or who have trouble with computers), so I opt in!

ivee’s online dashboard will let users personalize their experience and connect it to many third party smart home devices, such as thermostats, locks, lights, plugs, vacuums, and more, including the Nest, WeMo, and the Roomba.

Now we’re talking!