The Internet of Things (IoT) isn't coming, it's here and some companies are leading the way to connect the digital with the physical world.
In part one of this article we looked at what the IoT is, how it came to be, what it is composed of and most importantly, how it might interact with us and whether or not that interaction would be collaborative. In this second part of the article we look at the how more than the what or why.
Companies like ThingWorx and Raco wireless are trying to create platforms for IoT applications. In addition, the XMPP standards foundation XSF is creating a framework in a fully open standard that is free of any company ties and unconnected to any cloud services. The idea is to show how XMPP can empower the collaboration between humans and smart objects. This initiative is called Chatty Things. XMPP provides a set of needed building blocks and a proven distributed solution that can scale with high security levels.
Another technical issue is how easy is it to connect these connected devices to Web services? Temboo has integrated its platform into some of the hardware (Arduino boards) that deal with connected objects. The big deal about this is that Temboo has a library of APIs for Web Services like Facebook, Dropbox and Evernote.
At the recent DEMO Fall 2013 I got a chance to hear Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote talk about some of the history and design philosophy of Evernote but also to see where they are going. He talked about
moving from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge economy. In the knowledge economy, for the first time, the state of mind or 'happiness' of knowledge workers can determine how productive and successful they are. The ability of making those knowledge workers happy, helps them deal with the ever larger onslaught of details.
To operationalize this, their investment hypothesis (what features they will give resources to) is that the lines between the digital and physical world and the consumer and enterprise world will quickly disappear. He believes that this can happen within the next five years and that any company that is not able to design for the physical world (IoT) will not survive."
So it is no coincidence that Evernote launched Evernote market, which offers scanners, stylus and a few other objects. It launched two weeks ago and accounts for 20 percent of Evernote’s revenues over that time period.
Kits and Tools
Cisco has created a counter for the Internet of Everything (IoE). It says there are over 10 billion things connected to the Internet, with another 80 connected every second. Not to be outdone, GE, Pivotal and Amazon are also collaborating on the IoT, and Oracle and Freescale have partnered to provide new services.
Start-ups like Ninjablocks and Twine have started to offer kits for early adopters that allow us to connect our own sensors to track temperatures in specific rooms, e.g., if the plants need watering or to turn on my hot tub so it will be warm when I get home. A lot of these building blocks are also emerging in the medical area. iHealth's devices measure oxygenation, blood glucose, blood pressure, activity level, etc. — all connected to your smart phone through Bluetooth.
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