On the edge of the IoT revolution

I hate needles. I like chronograph watches. I am a Type 2 diabetic. These are true sentences about me, but if mentioned without context, can seem unrelated and would make a boring article. But if mentioned during a discussion about “wearable technology” and what “Internet of Things” mean, latter being a more conceptual terminology starting to lap the tech jargon circuit, I can use them to connect the dots.

Let's start by demystifying Internet of Things, “IoT” for short. IoT is a conceptual term starting to lap the tech jargon circuit. It is a concept where all things in the digital world, aka gadgets, have intelligence to communicate with each other. Further this communication between gadgets is possible because of the ever-shrinking computer circuitry, aka “brains” of the gadget, that utilizes the internet to communicate.

Not to get the sci-fi geeks too excited, we’re not yet talking about Terminator-esque “man versus machine” scenario. Rather, as it currently stands, we are able to do things that were unimaginable in the past without human intervention like taking our blood pressure, reading blood glucose levels, dimming the light in the living room or knowing that you have to stop at the store on your way home from work because you’re low on milk.

Through the benefits provided by IoT, these can be done with accuracy and without much human intervention. In my case, technology to monitor blood glucose levels is almost here, without pricking my finger twice a day. The benefits are limitless, if anything bound only by our imaginations. Just like the internet itself was a disruptive innovation that changed how we live our lives, IoT will further enable the effects of the internet to penetrate deeper into every nook and cranny of our lives.

However futuristic the above may sound we are already at the infancy of the IoT revolution and “wearable technology” is driving the market today. We have routinely explored the benefits ushered in by “Power of One” devices; smartphones and tablets can be operated with one finger and are so intuitive to use that these devices are appropriate for many. This is because traditional computers exude “everything but the kitchen sink” complexity. The current crop of wearable technology complements smartphones and tablets as they communicate with each other.

For instance, you may want to keep track of how much you have walked today without having to clip an unsightly pedometer to your waistband. Instead have your smartphone, that goes everywhere with you already, use its built-in global positioning system (GPS) to track your steps. Or do you fancy the watch Dick Tracy wore? It is already here as wearables, referred to as “smart” watches, with products such as the Samsung “Gear” and Apple’s upcoming “Apple Watch.” And I’m sure you’ve heard about “Google Glasses,” which in my mind catapulted interest in wearable technology.

Wearable technology, once confined to geeks’ love of gadgets, now is marketed as a fashionable complement to your smartphones. It's only the start of the IoT revolution!

Next issue's topic: Our semi-annual update on trying to stay safe in the digital world

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart consulting, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 9:42 AM, 09.30.2014