Don’t look now, but you are on the Internet. It’s great, isn’t it? Soon your family appliances — refrigerator, stove, alarm clock, air conditioner, garage door opener and lights — will all get on the Internet, too, just like you are.
This notion of “things” getting on the Internet has an unsurprising name: it’s called “the Internet of things.” The Internet, of course, is a network of computers that can connect together. When you send an email, for example, that message is split into many components and sent from computer to computer to computer until it’s reassembled on the other end. Or should you change a setting on Facebook, you use your pc to make a change on Facebook’s computers.
Joining Your Things
To get a computer to be connected to the Internet, it needs to get the type of hardware and software that makes it “IP addressable,” in geek terminology. That only means it’s capable of sending and receiving messages from Internet computer terminology. In recent years various things that aren’t really computers, such as safety cameras, are created IP addressable from the accession of built-in pc electronics and software.
The “Internet of things” trend is making all sorts of things IP addressable: appliances, lights and much more. This will make it possible for you to not only control appliances via a computer or smart phone (person to appliance) and to automate them (pc to appliance), but also to allow appliances to attach to one another (appliance to appliance).
What Would Your Appliances Say to One Another?
By way of example, when you turn off your alarm clock in the morning, your alarm clock could let the light to continue along with the coffee machine to start brewing. Another example: When the lights go off during the night, they might let the door locks to lock.
This kind of automation is currently possible but controlled by a central computer. It’s complicated and costly. The “Internet of things” revolution should make these things simple, easy and inexpensive.
Technology That Connects Appliances
Among the most popular appliance-connecting merchandise is your Belkin WeMo switch. The WeMo switch plugs into an electrical outlet, you then plug a lamp or an appliance into the switch. It’s popular because it’s unbelievably easy to install and use. Once something is plugged in, it may be turned on or off from an iOS or Android smart telephone or tablet.
Belkin recently announced a new venture with Jarden Corp., which makes various home appliances. Industry watchers predict that Belkin’s technology can be constructed into Jarden’s Mr. Coffee coffee pots, Crock-Pot slow cookers along with many different appliances under the Oster and Sunbeam manufacturers, enabling those appliances to be controlled from smart phones.
The companies say the very first Jarden merchandise with WeMo attributes should ship later this year.
GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Option
A cooperation between two companies, GreenWave Reality and NXP Semiconductor, has led to an Internet-connected LED lightbulb. The bulbs, called the GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Option, cost over $20 each. This sounds like a great deal to get a lightbulb, but it’s a minimal cost for what’s in effect just a tiny computer on your home network.
The lightbulbs not just can communicate via Wi-Fi, but they are able to extend the assortment of your home network via net media, a technology that empowers each mesh networking device in the house to pass along wireless data traffic to and from other devices.
In real practice that ability to do mesh networking is something for the future, as companies work out the software technologies to make it work. In the meantime the principal benefit of goods such as the GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Option is that bulbs can be controlled by smart-phone programs from anywhere, and they are able to do wonders to enhance convenience and energy savings.
For only one example, they may be installed to automatically select according to a combination of motion sensing and light requirements — in other words, the bulb will turn on automatically when someone is in the room and it’s also dark outdoors.
The GreenWave Reality Connected Lighting Option is now for sale in a few limited niches, but it is going to come to be broadly available in the USA and Europe in the not too distant future, according to the companies.
Among the exciting promises of the “Internet of things” is that along with being distant controllable and automated, home appliances will have the ability to be controlled by environmental conditions.
For this to happen, you need sensors — gadgets that can tell what those environmental requirements are. 1 unique new product that provides many of those sensors for your “Internet of things” in the residence is named Ninja Blocks. Ninja Blocks can sense all types of things, including motion, sound, light, space and even humidity. They’re also able to record other data, including sound and video.
Ninja Blocks link to the Internet, and from there on an online service called the Ninja Cloud. This service may serve as a traffic cop, routing messages to social networks and other cloud providers.
After you set up an account on the Ninja Cloud, then plug in a Ninja Block detector, that detector — and the data it collects — instantly appears in your Ninja Cloud dashboard. From there you can point and click your way to establishing rules for what happens under specific conditions detected by the detector.
Largely for Home Geeks and Tinkerers
These flexible Ninja Blocks allow you to set up your own home “Internet of things.” A few examples of what you might use them for: to send you a text message as soon as your doorbell rings, sound an alarm as soon as your dog gets to the couch or turn to a bathroom fan once the shower makes it steamy.
This kind of automation can be done even by people who aren’t software programmers or engineers, according to the organization. However, Ninja Blocks are especially designed for tinkerers. Each of the software, and even the hardware layouts, are available source with published information. Therefore the Ninja Blocks are fantastic for home automation enthusiasts, programmers, engineers and inventors.
Google applied for a patent lately that would allow you to control your home appliances using eyewear, called Google Glass.
The Google Glass job is a significant effort at the Silicon Valley firm to create a computer that projects information into a single eye, enabling you to find things from the Web superimposed on which you see to your routine vision.
Google Glass also includes a camera to the front, and you are able to command the system with voice controls, eye movements or both.
A New Way to Look at Your Appliances
Google Glass is designed for advanced augmented reality, which implies that everything you see is enhanced with information. By way of example, as you are walking around it could provide you instructions by showing arrows that seem to hover across the sidewalk. It could use the camera to identify someone you are talking to, giving you their name out of your online address book. You can even share photos of anything you are looking at by saying something like, “Glass Take a picture and send it to Janet.”
Google Glass is available right now just for developers who want to create software for it. But it should be available for general use within a year.
Google’s new appliance-control patent is for virtual controls and about appliances, visible only to someone sporting Google Glass. Therefore, for example, when you examine the refrigerator while sporting Google Glass, you can use a voice command that creates the illusion of warmth controls on the surface of the refrigerator. You can then change the temperature by hitting out and turning a virtual dial or by simply telling the fridge what temperature you’d like it to be at.
All around the house you can conjure up controls and directions for your TV, air conditioner, washing machine and so forth. The technology for controlling home appliances using Google Glass is only a patent application at this point. Nonetheless, it demonstrates the type of thing that is possible when home devices are connected to the Internet.
The “Internet of things” is a breathtaking new area of technology that promises to revolutionize how everything works. And it’s coming home.
More: Smart Bulbs for Better Lighting