The world of IoT can be murky, so to make things a bit clearer we've looked for answers from Imagination Technologies, one of the UK's leading IoT companies.
IoT is the future, but what does it mean? It can seem like this whole movement was made to confuse.
We had a chat with UK IoT guru Paul Evans of Imagination Technologies to clear things up.
Before we dig into the books to brush up on our programming, we asked Paul what exactly is going on with IoT right now, and what we can expect to see in the future.
What is IoT?
Paul Evans: The initials stand for the “Internet of Things” but really what that means is connecting traditional embedded electronics that you might have, like heaters and things around your home. Or things than haven’t been traditionally connected like a door lock or a sensor on a window.
What do you think are going to be some of the most popular uses for IoT in the coming years?
PE: I see a couple of big areas in the coming years, ones touching or interacting directly with human lives. I mean things like resource, energy. Today we see things like Hive and Nest, trying to control the energy in the home, for savings for us as a society.
Other big society things will come into this, like water monitoring and healthcare. As a lot of the Western population starts to age, there’ll be a great role for electronics.
When you think IoT will start appearing in the average home, rather than just those of early adopters?
PE: Certainly there are some early adopters out there already. I think it will come in small waves, probably in areas you don’t necessarily think about.
Today a lot of people have products like a Sonos, a connected speaker. We don’t necessarily think about this as ‘connected home’ but it’s the first step into that.
You have a connected media streaming product, a wired product that’s now wireless and capable of two-way data. Similarly we’ve seen the Amazon Echo, the speaker you actually speak into.
That’s another step into the home where soon you might be saying… “turn my heating on”, “close my blinds”.
Many of these steps are happening at the moment. It’s about finding applications that are directly useful and applicable in everyday life.
There are lots of smart technologies out there, but unless you or I as a user actually feel we’re getting a benefit, it’s not going to start.
What are some of the IoT uses people might not have thought of?
PE: There are going to be lots of handy little applications. Agriculture is one we’re already prototyping, with a company in Portugal. It has three blueberry farms, and we’re looking at how to best irrigate the crops.
They combine things like wether information with what we have on the ground: moisture in the soil and so on. It makes a big saving in somewhere like Portugal, where water is a resource you really want to control.
What are some of the things you could make with a Creator Ci40?
PE: There are a number of examples that come with the Ci40 Kickstarter project set. One is home heating. You could come int the house, open the door, turn the heating on before arriving or monitor how much energy you’re using.
We could also use it for gardening, agriculture, healthcare. A really broad range.
One of the aims we have for Ci40 is to run this as part of the University programme. We’ll approach Universities and colleges globally to help them get started with this.