Internet of Things – is it time to start paying attention?
The Internet of Things or IoT World Summit was held recently in London, but exactly what is the Internet of Things and is it something all businesses should start thinking about?
In a nutshell, it’s devices talking to devices, either using wifi or mobile data to make a smart-connected world work more automatically.
Your Samsung smart fridge talking to your phone to tell you you’re out of soy milk. Your Netgear Arlo security camera sending footage of your office, so you can be extra secure wherever you are. Your Smarter Coffee Machine getting your americano on as you leave your desk, so by the time you get to the kitchen, it’s waiting for you.
It’s cool, and it isn’t the future – it’s here now as these are scenarios you can recreate. But would you want to? Is it time for your business to get IoT ready?
Well, if you use a smartphone, you’re halfway there, as it’s at the heart of most connected devices. Download an app, make an account and connect your fridge, coffee maker or security camera to the internet. It’s pretty much the same story for whatever IoT device you pick up.
And there are loads more ways the Internet of Things can improve your working life. Netatmo’s indoor weather station updates you on the air quality both inside and outside your office, giving you advice on how you can improve conditions. This can help improve your working environment and reduce the risk of lethargy or headaches. The company also has a relatively inexpensive smart security camera, complete with face detection, meaning you can always keep tabs on who’s in your office – with a feed direct to your smartphone.
Amazon is big on IoT too. It has created Dash buttons. These can be dotted around your workplace, connected to wifi and simply tapped to reorder an item such as coffee or toilet paper without even having to turn on a monitor or phone screen.
And there are now such things as IoT hubs like Samsung’s SmartThings. These control multiple devices like power outlets or security cameras. They also go that bit further when it comes to security, offering smart Yale locks, motion sensors and even alarms that can be triggered remotely. The benefit of a smart hub is it uses just one app, making life even simpler.
And as the Internet of Things develops, this rapidly growing industry is innovating new solutions to keep communications and data secure and protect privacy, whether it’s something as simple as a heat sensor or as complex as a mobile phone.
For most small businesses therefore, IoT tech is innovative, fun and increasingly useful, though more optional than essential – for now. That said, if you’re in the business of making lives easier using tech, now could be the perfect time to start looking at IoT.
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