Though the Internet of Things is just that: an internet for things to communicate and not humans, the end user does stand to benefit from the incoming proliferation co connected smart devices. For all of the next generation IT interface that we will benefit from simply by virtue of automated efficiency, there will also be new ways for us to interact with our vehicles, homes, food and even old unconnected objects.
Today, for IoT Month, we will take a look at five consumer facing applications for the Internet of Things.
- Telematics Can Pro Rate Your Car Insurance
The connected car is a major sub-heading on the master list of IoT applications. Smart vehicles offer a serious number of safety, comfort and efficiency improvements on ye cars of olde. Customized driver climate and entertainment presets, hands free console controls and built in navigation systems are just the beginning of what many hope will soon lead to the self-driving cars of tomorrow.
Before we can get to the future in which cars all come equipped with an invisible chauffeur, however, we all need to protect ourselves from the liability of human error with auto insurance. Luckily, the Internet of Things has an application here, too. Using the same connected tech that can give drivers analytics on the efficiency of their driving and the health of their vehicle, insurance companies can monitor how well you drive and adjust your insurance premium accordingly.
Essentially, the thinking behind this is seeded in identity. You may belong to a demographic that is regarded as an infamous liability (young men, I’m looking at you), but that doesn’t mean you should have to pay more for insurance because of your irresponsible peers. Thanks to telematics technology, you don’t have to. Some car insurance companies have suggested a performance based model for insurance as a way of bringing fairness back to the world of protecting your investment on wheels.
- Your Apple Watch Can Unlock your Hotel Room
Regular readers of Mobile ID World may have noticed that I am an enthusiastic proponent of IoT based access control, which is why I regularly bring the Apple Watch into conversations about the M2M network. At the Apple Watch keynote in March, the wearable was demonstrated on stage with a strong focus placed on its IoT functionality (though presented in more layman’s terms).
While the Apple Watch allows for remote home monitoring and mobile commerce, it also supports physical access control functions. This means that an Apple Watch can be issued a credential from an administrator that in turn allows it to open a physical door. The example used during the keynote had a room key credential issued via a hotel app upon check in, allowing for the automated unlocking of a hotel door. Upon check out, the watch’s credential expires and can no longer serve as a room key.
- Order Groceries On Demand From Your Fridge
Number three on our list is a simple idea that can end up saving a lot of time. Internet of Things tech can help do your grocery shopping for you. A number of connected devices exist or are in their pilot phase that allow for a shopping list to be compiled from home and delivered right when it’s most convenient.
Coles, the US supermarket chain, is currently testing out Hiku for this expressed purpose. The Device can compile a list either by dictation or bar-code scanning, and on a user’s demand place an order for the needed items to be delivered. Users who prefer the brick and mortar experience of in-person shopping can head to the store themselves and access their ready made list on the Cole’s mobile app.
The addition of on demand shopping tech to appliances is also happening through Amazon, a company that always seems eager to further automate the online buying experience. It’s Dash Buttons offer immediate ordering of specific household consumables with a single press of the finger.
- Control Your Appliances With Your Voice or Twitter Account
As living spaces begin to accumulate connected tech, the smart home begins to emerge. Appliances, home security and indoor climate systems won’t just have the option to be automated, but they will also give users the freedom to control them remotely. Start a coffee machine so that your beverage is ready right when you arrive home from an early morning jog, open open the door for your kid who forgot her house key on the kitchen table while you’re still at work, never worry about whether or you left the stove on in your house while on vacation.
As we explored last week, voice and speech recognition technology is helping for in home interface with the smart home, and while smartphones will also aid in remote controlling, a third option is emerging for IoT use: social media. New Internet of Things tech can allow you to connect with machines the same way you connect with your friends and acquaintances, by tweeting at them to interact.
- Never Lose Anything Ever Again By Retrofitting Your Dumb Objects
Of course, to someone who is content with their current inventory of things, all this talk of connected tech might conjure up looming images of gigantic unwanted dollar signs. The smart home, as described above in particular, will set one back a bit financially in the name of luxurious automation. Just because you don’t want to splurge on a set of new appliances doesn’t mean you have to be left out of the IoT revolution though. Technologies like Pixie allow you to retrofit unconnected objects in order to make them part of a simple IoT ecosystem.
Pixie has two aspects: Pixie points and an app. A user attached a Pixie point (a tag) to an object (or pet or whatever they want to never lose track of), names it, and then has the ability to always locate it from the Pixie app. Holding up a smartphone’s rear facing camera to a room filled with Pixie-connected objects gives a user the kind of convenient location information we’re most accustomed to seeing in sci-fi movies, but this is a consumer IoT tech that allows you to bring the Internet of Thing into your home this summer.
Stick with Mobile ID World throughout June as we continue to explore the Internet of Things with more featured articles and interviews. Join in on the discussion by following us on Twitter and tweeting with the hashtag #IoTMonth.