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26 January 2015

Let the machines do the talking

We don’t procrastinate here at ifour - we like to look forward! The world is changing fast and we certainly don’t want to miss out on the fun, which is why we thought we’d bring you a little bit of news about the Internet of Things, or IoT as it’s known.

If it sounds like another confusing acronym, then hold your horses, we’re going to unpack it all in clear, plain English. You may know that the way we love doing business here is face-to-face, human to human or H2H (if you actually like acronyms). What that means is we meet with our clients, get to know what matters to them, and involve them every step the way (check out this blog post to find out more!)

However, in the background more conversations are taking place from computer to computer, machine to machine or M2M, if you please! Which is what the Internet of Things is all about.  

Intuitive living

What might surprise you is that it’s not all that new and it encompasses a huge range of things. It’s your sat nav that warns you about traffic jams, air traffic control technology that prevents planes from colliding, remote thermostats that ensure you house is toasty warm, and pacemakers that regulate the heart.

For some technologies it’s easy to see how IoT can really help. The recent success of the comet landing is all about IoT, computers talking to computers to gather information from the outer reaches of our solar system! On this scale it’s easy to see its application, but there can be a tendency to fold our arms say ‘thanks very much but space technology has little to with us!’ But the fact is it’s having more and more influence on the way we live our lives and, if we only embrace it, we could make it do even more for us. 

Digital Cities

One city taking a huge leap into the age of digital connectedness is Bristol. Plans are underway to link up the whole city to improve the health and well being of the population. It’s all based around the ‘Sphere’ a sensor platform that will fit monitors in people’s homes that are so sophisticated they’ll be able to work out everything from how vigorously you chop your carrots, to how efficiently you walk up the stairs.

If you look at the motivation behind it all you’ll see it’s not quite as ‘big brother’ as it might seem. The aim is to monitor health of the vulnerable and help to detect things like falls, strokes or even periods of depression so help can be summoned.

Managing the growing pains

Of course, there are issues and the biggest concern is security. The IoT blurs the lines between public and private and with so much data buzzing around freely it’s a reasonable concern. Capacity is also an issue, considering there are some parts of the country that still don’t get a decent broadband connection. Whilst these discussions will fly around for a while, solutions are being sought. 

The big question for businesses, however, is no longer, ‘if?’ but ‘when?’ The IoT  will help you be smarter about tracking your stock, ordering components, targeting potential customers, getting to know your current ones even better and predicting trends for the future. All being well, you’ll also be able to send a message to your coffee maker so you’ll have your cappuccino ready when you walk in the office, and your smart watch will tell you when your blood sugar levels are getting low and you need to step away from the desk and get some lunch!

It really is a whole new world, so give us a call if you’d like to find out how we can help you get up to speed for the era of integration. Give us a call 01892 541111, email us at hello@ifour.co.uk or visit our design agency studio in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. You’ll get a human response - we promise!

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