03/02/2017 | Written by: Frank van der Wal
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I better admit it… I’m an addict!
Some relief to shout it out loud… It is not that I have trembling hands, starts drooling or get sweaty armpits every morning after not satisfying my addiction, but I do get restless every now and again. And no, it’s not alcohol I long for, it is no nicotine that my body needs, and, God forbid, no stronger stuff either, although I’m from Amsterdam… NO! it is, of course, the Internet of Things! That’s what I’m hooked on (nice touch of words, Frank — thank you very much!). It is one of those gifts that keeps on giving.
When starting my Electronics study way back, I dreamed about the “things” one could do with transistors and other components. I had wild plans, invested money in tools and components, but my financial resources were drained pretty fast. “Things” were way too expensive, even components were. I recall having to do many odd jobs to buy me a transistor (the BLY 89, to be precise). It cost about the equivalent of 50 Euro’s. We are talking previous millennium here. I got my “thing” to work with the transistor, but due to some silly manoeuvre on my side, I short-circuited it and it blew up after a bare 5 minutes of joy…
Today “things” cost nothing. I recently bought distance sensors for 3,95 Euro each, a tip from my esteemed colleague Hans Boef made me buy an Particle Photon, a wireless IoT device for under 20 Euro’s. Sensors with an accuracy that go far beyond the point of good enough, are for grabs.
“I play with them “things”, develop too many small and completely unnecessary projects.”
A word of gratitude for my wife and kids seems appropriate for they have to deal with crazy displays and sensors all over the house that collect and shows power usage, switch off lights in a completely unrecognized pattern and to trying to chase away cats in the garden who have this enlightened drive to loose any body waste on our territory. Again, with doubtful results, at best…
Yet, the whole Internet of Things (IoT) keeps me busy and it is good to see that IBM, for example, is taking it seriously as well. One of the examples is that IBM has a wonderful platform on our Cloud platform, Bluemix, to get you started.
And, IoT projects do not always have to be on the far end of the high-tech spectrum is proofed by IBM Research in an Italian project for an institution that is providing housing facilities for elderly people. By monitoring atmospheric readings, such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels, it can be determined how long a person is in a room. With cognitive systems the contextual understanding of a senior’s day can be understood and, integrating it with traditional data from other sources, a holistic view of the residents can be established. Needless to say that this organisation can now react more promptly and even pro-actively on their residents.
We are living in an interesting world with those connected devices and the data it brings. With the power of cognitive computing we can think. Tthink even beyond chasing cats and switching off lights in a strange and yet not quite comprehended algorithm. The case described above is a practical example of putting small and inexpensive sensors to work for a better controlled senior housing facility.
And it’s only one of the thousand examples out there…