The idea of Internet of things is not new. It’s all about different devices being connected to Internet, not to provide information directly to a user but to consume or provide information about itself. For example a digital photo frame can use Internet to download pictures from the Internet. The idea is that the person that views the picture may not be the one selecting which picture to display. Taking this idea forward, devices can talk to other devices on Internet. So the whole Internet Sea is shared between humans and devices.
So when does this become interesting? Recent advances in technologies provide lots of systems to be aware of their surroundings. For example your Windows 7 phone has cameras and accelerometers and can detect its orientation in your hand. With the help of software you it can tag the picture with the date/time and place (through GPS) when you are uploading it to a web site. So you are in a foreign country and you don’t know the language. You point your phone to the sign and in real time you see the same sign through your phone in your own language. There are actually prototypes for these applications for other mobile platforms that are impressive. So basically we are connecting sensors from all around the world to Internet. (Information on RFID sensors can be found here and development information can be seen here) I just want to stress how powerful this can be. Obviously there are privacy issues that needs to be taken care of but that’s a different topic.
Microsoft announced Kinect for Xbox 360 a while ago. There have been lots of articles on how it would change the gaming experience.(One example can be seen here) Apart from being used as a controller for games, it became very popular for other uses. There have been different projects (Examples can be seen here, here and here) all around the world for using Kinect for never before thought purposes. The reason for this popularity was that we had all necessary components except the software to tie everything together. Now that we can use the power of software to get information from the data coming from the sensors, a whole new world begins. I am sure we will see these kinds of solutions embedded more and more into our lives.
Just to give you a few examples on potential applications, you would see Intelligent TV sets. It will open when you sit in front of them and you would be able to control them through your hand gestures (Netflix on Xbox 360 can do this Today), no searching for the lost remote controls anymore. In the near future except for high security areas, we will start seeing face recognition for access control. That means no use of passwords or maybe even keys for some uses. So you may have a home system where there will be a log of every major event. Your family members entering home, going out. If they are using an Internet enabled shoes for jogging you will see how fast they are going or even if they need help.
So Internet of things is about to become reality for the majority and will change our lives in ways you will never have imagined.