The Internet of Things: a new frontier for enterprising entrepreneurs
The Internet of Things is set to disrupt everything from homewares to healthcare, writes Cade Witnish, managing director of Loud&Clear.
Imagine if your home knew you were working late, could tell you’re running out of milk and automatically turned on your heating after sensing a sudden chill in the air.
The concept might seem creepy to some, but within a decade automated homes are set to become as commonplace as the smartphone is today.
The missing link in creating this future is the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of physical devices embedded with electronics, software and sensors exchanging data with manufacturers, operators and each other.
The worldwide IoT market is growing exponentially and is predicted to reach $1.7 trillion in value by 2020. The enterprise applications for IoT seem endless, music to the ears of entrepreneurs who live in the world of ‘what is possible’.
The Internet of Things is also setting the scene for the rise of a new breed of entrepreneur, ordinary people from a variety of backgrounds with great ideas for harnessing IoT technology.
As indicated, the building and housing industry is particularly ripe for IoT disruption. There are also exciting developments happening in the field of healthcare, in hospitals and more specifically – aged care. The Internet of Things is allowing health professionals to track and diagnose patients and those at risk faster and in a more scalable way compared to human labour. The tools created won’t replace doctors and nurses, but rather increase their capacity to treat a larger number of patients and those at risk.
We are currently working closely with Swinburne university’s research and development lab on a prototype aimed at the aged care sector. The device helps those at risk with prevention of illness or injury. For example, it will remind them to drink water on hot days, and how much they need to drink. The device will remind the elderly when to take medication and connect them to nurses and pharmacists for advice. It also monitors their sleep and vitals, controls room temperature and provides reminders. The concept is that the device will augment the in-home nursing sector, providing additional care for patients and a better quality of life for the elderly.
The Internet of Things will start off being a lot of standalone technology, which is exciting for early adopters but won’t create a great deal of value to the general public. The pivotal point when the Internet of Things will start to become fully embraced and truly exceptional will be when IoT technologies become dynamically integrated.
Having a fridge tell you that you’re out of milk is a nice to have. But imagine having a kitchen that provides meal options based on your food inventory, what is soon perishable and your favourite style of food. That’s life changing and also incredibly efficient. IoT technology connecting your supermarket, pantry, fridge, calendar, your location and your habits is bound to have serious benefits, including less wastage, better health and more accurate grocery shops.
The most exciting thing about the Internet of Things movement, however, is a seeming tech hardware renaissance. Before the internet, engineers leaned towards robotics and hardware, but post-internet focus has been on software and application development. The Internet of Things creates a balance between the two, creating a symbiotic relationship that has seemingly limitless possibilities.