I’m wondering why it takes so long for Internet of Things (IoT) to be a pert of our day by day life. Yes, I’m currently able to control many things from my home with my mobile phone, some of them even remotely over the internet, but still, it doesn’t feel like a strong ‘need’, a must have for now. The IoT capabilities look like nice to have features, but that’s pretty much it. Why the developing of IoT capabilities is so slow and the adoption so low?
Well, first because it takes between 5 to 10 years to change the electronic devices from your house. It might take less in well developed countries or even longer in emerging markets.
I don’t think that’s the only reason behind the problem. A few others might be:
- big number of electric devices makers and no industry wide spread standard;
- even if mobile applications developing has became pretty straight forward, that’s not the main business of the big established makers;
- each maker has it’s own patents, it’s own apps which work more like the old 80’s-90’s one individual remote control for each device kind of thing;
- lack of marketing, demos, whitepapers, etc.
I’m sure a tough investigation can find more reasons, that’s not the scope of this post though. I only want to publish a possible solution for the first 3 enunciated problems.
The first part of the solution would be:
Let’s make all the electronic devices that surround us IoT Ready!
How this could be done? Well, pretty easy with today’s technology. Build a small electronic board with an USB port, that is able to translate the commands received from the USB IoT stick into direct instructions for the electronic device.
The USB IoT stick, would be able to connect to wireless networks, have an unique ID within a home and would transmit sequences of strings with commands to it’s mother board (the board it’s connected to on the electric device). For convenience I’ll call the mother board – IoT Slot.
The second part of the solution would be:
The app that builds apps, or just another very big collection of buttons.
Well, it might sound wired, but think of it, how difficult it would be to create a big library of buttons that can do any remotely commanded action schedulled or not for existing electric devices. Add a graphic interface to it and that would enable the electric devices makers to build their own apps. Or even an app within the ‘main control app’, called lets say MyHome IoT, that gathers together all the connected devices from your home. For convenience you should even be able to name your devices as you want based on their unique ID and using a rather simple speech to text feature.
So by now, you would have many electric devices with funny names, USB IoT sticks to connect them to your wireless network, and and MyHome IoT app to command each of them based on what you are allowed to control on them or not.
How you make it Internet ready?
Well, I can control some of my devices on my home across the internet with ease individually. If I have a IoT Modem connected to my wireless router that is able to receive unique secure messages from MyHome IoT app even if the smart phone is connected to a 4G network and not to my home’s wireless network, the problem is solved.
What would be the ‘je ne sais quoi’ factor? What would make it fancy to buy it?
The answer to this it’s so easy and we pretty much have it. Call it Google Personal Assistant or Amazon Alexa Assistant. I’ll ignore Siri for now.
Make everything voice commands enabled and smart enough to be set, started, stopped, scheduled and provide a status at least.
You might say for good reason that Google Home already does that (https://store.google.com/us/product/google_home_smart_home?hl=en-US) Kind off, but not everything that the above idea can accomplish. Smart plugs could do a part of it, but they could not set the clock on my built-in oven for example, and they don’t truly represent IoT devices, but rather smart start/stop devices. Why I can’t connect my new ‘smart’ fitness machine, my dish washer and my washing machine to Google Home, schedule when they should start, stop or simply ask for their status (‘Hey Google, are my dishes clean’?)
At the beginning of this post I haven’t looked yet where Google Home got to by this date. I have done it afterwards and they seem to have it figured out already. Are they?
- What about making the app that builds apps, the collection of buttons and publish a simple hardware design for the IoT Stick and IoT Slot? That would enable all makers of electric devices adhere to a standard if they wish too.
- Would electric devices makers take these designs and use them?
I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but if making an IoT ready device becomes easier and less expensive, for sure many makers will benefit of the nice features they can add to old designs to increase their sails and keep them in the trend of intelligent homes. That might be even easier if the development of intelligent commands and features isn’t that hard and it does not increases the price of the final device neither. And the platform that unifies them all, will get to become a big success. It could be even ‘assistant’ independent, to be able to receive commands from all known personal assistants for an even larger market share.
Or maybe the chromecast team should collaborate more with the google home team as they seem to inspire each other in my head.