I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time focused on the “Internet of Things” lately. I am impressed by how much buzz IoT has been getting lately, with a new connected device seemingly emerging each day. We’re in the early days, but things are moving fast.
In these early days, it seems that most connected “things” are producers of information. Sensors of many kinds are being deployed to collect information on all manner of things. Big data promoters and doomsayers alike rightly point to this information deluge as world-changing, allowing us to achieve an extra-sensory awareness of what is happening around us that opens up infinite new possibilities.
But it occurs to me that things will really get exciting when “things” expand beyond being just data producers, and begin to expose APIs that allow them to be controlled remotely. When a sensor can tell that a motor is overheating, that is good. When the overheating motor exposes an API that allows it to be remotely slowed or shut down automatically before it is ruined, that is even better.
We’re not that far away from this, really. Many of the new connected things are built to be controlled remotely, some with simple Web APIs. And with technologies like MQTT, it is relatively easy to retrofit traditional connected things to be controlled remotely. I think the next wave of consumer device innovation will focus on this – everyone will want a device router (or hack their Linksys router to act as one like T-Rob did), and everyone will expect their new appliances and consumer electronics to be connected so that they can tell you when they are having problems, and of course, be controlled remotely through an API.
“Did I turn off the dryer before we left?”
“I’m not sure – check your home control app”
It’ll be here before you know it…