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The Internet of Things - Explained...

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by Alastair Cameron

Like it or not, gone are the days when the only thing that could be connected to the internet (using an ethernet cable we might add) was a PC or , if you happened to be on the very cutting edge of technological advancement… a laptop.

We have watched with curiosity (and a healthy dose of suspicion) the ever increasing momentum with which the Web seems to be entangling Internet of thingsitself into our lives…and (having rather vivid imaginations) we remain in a state of constant readiness for the day when a Terminator style turning of the tables occurs and we are forced to do the bidding of a race of excessively intelligent iPhones…but we digress...

You may have recently heard the phrase ‘internet of things’- David Cameron just last week pledged a £45m funding boost to it - great news indeed, However, it was an announcement that was greeted with cheers by some and a baffled “Huh?” by others.

‘The internet of things’ is the somewhat unlikely (yet appropriately obscure) label which has been given to the scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with the ability to automatically transfer data over a network.

It’s a term which baffled us no end upon our first encounter with it in a tech mag a while back but we were jolly pleased to discover that it’s actually a very simple notion and something we were already well acquainted with. As far as we understand it, the internet of things is all about increasing, improving or changing the functionality of objects through giving them internet connectivity.

Sounds rather like science fiction, but in truth the internet of things has been steadily growing in recent years and is (most likely) on the verge of a major expansion. In 2008 the number of devices in existence with internet connectivity surpassed the number of human beings on the planet for the first time, and tech experts reckon that by 2020 there will be 50 Billion in total.

Obviously the rapid expansion which continues is creating a space for innovative tech startups to flourish and bring some amazing products to market… reat news then for all you brainy folks looking for a way to apply your creative know-how in the coming years.  

Some recent additions to the internet of things

Pretty much anything has the potential to be connected to the internet but here’s a few of the most creative, useful and fun products that we Internet of Thingshave come across.

Rain Machine - This is a garden irrigation system that connects wirelessly to the internet, analysing all of the current and past weather conditions to deliver the optimum amount of water to your garden each day.

Goldee Light Controller - Is an intelligent lighting system for your home that learns how you interact with the light throughout the day and adjusts accordingly using a range of built-in sensors  which measure proximity, ambient light, sound volume and motion.

Tony Tempa - Is a thermometer for the 21st century that measures your body temperature by taking a reading from inside your ear and sending the results to his companion smartphone app, where at can be tracked and monitored.

Points - This is intelligent tourist pointers which access content from Foursquare, Twitter, transportation APIs, RSS feeds and many other online sources to automatically update their display and direction depending on events of interest happening in the local vicinity.  

Owlet Vitals Monitor - This is a health monitor designed for babies which automatically records and delivers information on a wide range of health issues. The Owlet Vitals Monitor will then allow you to print out the child's health records and present them to medical staff if needed.  

Bloomin marvellous!

If you find the whole notion of an ‘internet of things’ as fascinating as we do then check out a few of these recent startacus articles:


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Published on: 18th March 2014

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