This week in my Future Learn Smart Cities course, there’s quite a bit about The Internet of Things, a phrase that I’ve heard bounced around a fair amount but never really understood.
According to Wikipedia, The Internet of Things is:
The internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
I actually wrote something about connected devices for a job application some time ago – I didn’t get the job in the end, but I think my answer was still pretty good! The question was “In no more than 300 words, tell us what you feel will be the main influencers in developing software over the next 5 years?”
Over the next five years, we will see people with far more portable and wearable technology – we already have smart watches and Google’s experiments with glasses, plus companies looking into the application of other wearable accessories, clothes etc.
I believe that a substantial focus of software development will be towards finding innovative designs which make full use of the new types of hardware that are becoming more readily available, and providing a more natural seeming interface for objects which are often not traditionally designed to have one at all, let alone one that will provide an easily accessible user experience.
In addition, more of our household and day-to-day items from fridges to cars are becoming ‘smart’, and these will all require their own specific software, both to run on their own, and also be integrated with apps on other devices. Some household technologies such as televisions are already frequently connected to phone apps etc. and more are being developed. For example, the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator allows owners to remotely look at the contents inside via mobile app. It is likely that in the future these household objects will need to be able to ‘talk’ to each other, as well as portable devices enabling the creation of complete networks inside buildings and houses which automate many of our day-to-day tasks.
I’ve had some more thoughts about the Internet of Things, both how people use it now, and how they might use it in the future – it’s all in draft form right now but I’ll update soon! I’m keen to learn more, I’ve already registered interest in a Future Learn course about the Internet of Things.