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Making sense of sensors and IoT

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This years’ CES is all about connectivity. It’s sensors, sensors, and more sensors. But has the tech industry lost its common sense when it comes to sensors and IoT?

Strolling the through Tech West, just one of CES’s massive floor shows in Las Vegas this week, I was overwhelmed by the amount of smart technology on show. There are more fitness trackers than I have done steps on show – and that’s a lot, CES is walking, walking, walking, well at least until someone decides we should just stand on a portable platform and be moved along by a machine! I have written this week about a smart hairbrush, a smart mirror, and I have seen fitness trackers for dogs, IoT connected cups and mugs. You name it.

But is it too much? Are there some things that shouldn’t be smart? Is there some data that shouldn’t be tracked? Well, in my opinion yes, and no. Allow me clarify…

I’m a fan, anything that can help the public understand IoT and smart technology is a good thing. The more the general public warm to it, the more problems it solves, the better this tech can be both at a consumer and industrial level.

Education and IoT

Having the ‘lay audience’ understand what you can track and monitor, having a clear sense of what data can be extrapolated and utilised, and in what ways, is crucial. In order for the IoT and cognitive to be successful everyone needs to know it, love it, and understand it. And IBM is certainly doing their bit to help educate and inform.

If that means using smart wine dispensers and cookers, hanging your clothes out with a smart peg, and using an IoT enabled shower head, whilst always knowing what your dog is up to maybe there’s no harm.

It has the potential to benefit safety and security too. Yes the recent DDoS attacks were in part blamed on the exploitation of IoT devices, but the more we have access to IoT, the more education we get on technology, and privacy, online safety, and how to keep our devices secure, the better it will be.

IoT is life-changing too

It’s also crucial to look beyond the consumerism, marketing, competition and occasional frivolity of it, and remember that the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and cognitive, are life-changing and life-saving technologies too. Sometimes we need to be able to dig through the masses to find the gems:

Self-driving cars give the elderly and disabled freedom, to travel and to explore, or simply to get to the shops, or in the case of Sam Schmidt drive a racecar.

Smart home technology and sensors mean that the elderly can stay in their homes longer and lead safe and independent lives.

Robotics, industrial IoT and drones can provide a safer environment for us all to work in.

IoT applied to agriculture can utilise weather data, boosting crop production and provide solutions to the global food crisis.

I for one am very pleased to see the progress of IoT, and see this type of technology out there in the public domain. Anything that makes life-easier, that solves problems, and most importantly can provide meaningful and actionable data has the potential to make a difference in our future.

See what you can do to transform your business using IoT, or get meaningful data from your latest IoT invention by connecting it to IBM’s BlueMix.

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