Upon first hearing of the term, you may think the “Internet of Things” is Stephen King’s latest novel. If anything, it’s closer to Stephen Hawking’s vision of the year 3020. The Internet of Things has been making its way across the Internet for some time now (I myself have been following the topic for several years). But creating one agreed upon definition is easier said than done. Just about everyone has their own unique description of what the Internet of Things entails.
In the simplest of terms, the Internet of Things is a network of objects that can share information without any human interaction. With the power of the Internet, we can potentially connect with just about every object you can imagine, from your toaster to the corner stop sign. And with that connection comes the possibility of a more automated lifestyle.
First, think about how far we’ve come so far. We have air conditioners that will turn on and off automatically once a certain temperature is reached. We have sprinkler systems that can be set to water your lawn certain days of the week. We have coffee makers that we can program to brew before our morning alarm goes off. Just a few decades ago, this would have sounded impossible. Yesterday’s luxury is today’s everyday essential. Can you imagine not having a car you can unlock and lock from several feet away? What if we had to hand water our lawn?
Home automation takes a giant leap beyond these technological wonders. Think self-driving cars; a sprinkler system that forecasts the weather; a sink faucet that knows the exact temperature you enjoy for washing your hands. The whole point of home automation is that it’s automatic. You don’t even have to touch a button to set the coffee machine; it just knows you want coffee. When your printer is running low on ink, it could automatically order more for you.
The big deal about the internet of things is about making life easier and more…well, automatic. In the future, anything that can be connected will be connected. The future – that scary, distant, silvery, “Xenon: Girl of the 21st Century” vision – is here, and I for one couldn’t be more excited.