IOT CONNECTED DEVICES-One of the single biggest technology trends of the last several years has been the so-called IoT revolution. Manufacturers have been hard at work trying to improve all manner of devices by integrating some sort of connectivity option. Some devices really have been improved as a direct result of their Internet connectivity. My lawn sprinklers, for example, are connected to an online weather app and are able to determine how much water my lawn needs, based on how much rain has fallen recently. Other IoT devices are far more perplexing. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the benefits of a WiFi-connected spoon.
I often hear people refer to IoT devices as “smart, connected devices.” While this description isn’t wrong, it completely overlooks the one thing that has made IoT such an overwhelming success — integration.
IoT: Putting the ‘I’ in interaction
IoT devices are most useful when they are able to interact with other devices. Let me give you an example. I live in the Deep South, and not surprisingly it tends to get really hot here during the summer. For the most part, this isn’t a problem because I really enjoy the hot weather. On the hottest days, however, the air conditioner isn’t always able to keep my office cool. My office is on the second floor of my home, which causes it to stay a bit warmer than the rooms on the first floor. It is also jam-packed with computers, each of which gives off a considerable amount of heat. Sometimes the AC just can’t keep up.
So with that in mind, think back to what I said a moment ago about IoT devices being most useful when they are able to interact with other devices. My air conditioner is controlled by a smart thermostat. When the temperature in my office gets warmer than the temperature that the thermostat is set on, my home automation system can respond by closing the blinds or turning on the ceiling fan.
Making IoT devices most useful
My point is that having the ability to interact with other smart, connected IoT devices is the thing that makes the thermostat so useful. If it were not able to interact with these devices, the thermostat would be little more than just a fancy touch screen hanging on the wall.
The thing that has made IoT so successful is that the technology is so open-ended. With the right workflows and automations in place virtually any connected device can be made to work with practically any other connected device, even if those devices are completely unrelated to one another. This holds true both in the consumer world and in the world of industrial electronics.