The Internet of Things Is More Than Just a Bunch of Refrigerators
Harvard Business Review covers the internet of things, but everyone is probably wondering what the heck is meant when people say that. The (with a capital T and capital I) Internet of things is all of the public accessible things on The Public Internet plus a subset. The subset internet of everything are the things that are semi-private to private but still accessible to private parties via internet. So in the view below you see that a nearby view of things for me shows some Global Bike Share stations, some Raspberry Pi’s, and some Netatmo & other weather stations. You can click on the “Thingful” icon and pull up a map of your area if you want to as well.
This area is somewhat un-thinged, and un- smart compared to some cities - that will change dramatically over the next decade. In time you might see those tennis courts get a public schedule, the transit stations might show up along with real time mapping of the actual buses, web cams will pop up, restaurant menus, and some things people haven’t yet imagined will also show up.
The internet of things is going to grow up organically around us over time, and in some exponential fashion — the more things that are on the internet, the more reason there is to have even more things that are on the internet. As that occurs it will sort itself into Public, semi-public, and private spheres - with some devices and sensors present in more than one of those overlapping zones.
In your private intranet you will have things at home that can only be reached internally like maybe your security cameras, and you might have other things that can be reached over the public internet with biometric passkeys, certificates, and/or two step authentication, such as your DVR or media center. You might also have a public accessible weather station or other sensors fully public on the internet (like some of the Netatmo’s in the map above.)
In fully smart cities like Santander, Spain, all sorts of services and things might be available. In other cities, like mine, you might see smart infrastructure and services slowly integrated as refresh and replace cycles hit, and as new infrastructure is constructed. In Lenexa they’ve added an app for users to let the publics works folks know when there’s a problem. So you can snap a photo of the streetlight that’s out from your phone, upload it with the GPS coordinates, and a crew will come out to replace the bulb.
The interactive features and networked devices in smart Stadiums, factories, transport hubs, and other public venues are still evolving quickly, and will continue to do so because we do live in an exciting time and like the HBR article says, it’s not just about smart refrigerators and things in your home.
The Internet of Things is definitely becoming a Thing, in the same way that big data’s a Thing or the sharing economy’s a Thing. And the thing about a thing that becomes a Thing is, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that made it a thing before everyone declared it the Next Big Thing that will change everything.
Got it? Good. We’ll start there. With the hype over the Internet of Things behind us. Because whether or not it’s a Thing, the internet of things is already a lot of things. Here’s a look at a tiny, tiny slice of it:
Those are a couple of dozen air quality sensors located around Boston, as documented by Thingful, a search engine for publicly available Internet of Things things (including sharks!). Click on a dot to get real-time information on air quality in the area. That alone may only cross the threshold of “neat,” but it’s also the foundation of real social and business applications.
Cross posted to noblesseoblige.org