The Internet of Things Print
Thursday, 06 December 2012 09:30


While searching for technology trends of 2013, we ran across this neat article about "The Internet of Things" that we thought you might enjoy.

When a lightbulb goes off--really, really goes off--the ordinary turns to magic.

For an object that has come to symbolize great ideas, there sure hasn't been that much innovation surrounding light bulbs. But that's going to change very soon, and not in the relatively humdrum manner of eco-friendly fluorescent units. We mean radically, in an as-smart-as-science-fiction kind of way. And there is much more domestic alchemy where that comes from.

Tomorrow in Lights

Picture a lightbulb. The one you're thinking of is likely ridiculously simple: It's a glass bottle containing a material that glows, wired up to the electric supply through some old fashioned-looking connectors. Somewhere there's a wall switch for it, which you toggle when evening falls, or when you stagger to the bathroom half asleep in the middle of the night. If you're a bit fancy you may have an infra-red remote control or even a "Clapper" (remember them?!). But the lightbulb you have in your mind right now is, digitally speaking, dumb.

Now picture a totally different kind of bulb. A futuristic, eco-friendly LED powered device that has a tiny electronic brain and some awareness of what's going on around it--it can even talk to other technology. It's smart.

It's smart enough that if you put it in a bedside lamp, it could detect that you've woken and are heading for that midnight trip to the bathroom--and it knows the time, so it automatically turns on dimly to not hurt your eyes. A lamp like this would also be smart enough to adjust its color dramatically, delivering a 21st Century mood-light experience when used in your living room. It could perhaps flash an urgent amber color, to remind you that your pizza's had enough time in the oven.

A group of smart lamps could be intelligent enough to chatter to one another over Wi-Fi, allowing you to create amazing lighting "scenes" for your home, just like a lighting engineer in a theater. Such swarms of smart lights could automatically fade on and off to save energy as your home's occupants amble from room to room. Lamps like this could even alert you if you've got a new email, triggered by signals coming from your PC or tablet, or help you find your mislaid smartphone by detecting its Wi-Fi signature and then steering you to the room where you've left it.

By being made smart, the simple lightbulb is transformed. It's no longer an on/off boring system that turns night into day. Instead, the bulb, in concert with other home technology, is an almost magical item that augments your lifestyle. Maybe its convenience and smart powers even add to your relaxation, health or happiness. Seriously, it might: The best and most innovative uses of smart lightbulbs are probably things we can't imagine yet, and we understand lighting can affect your mood. The impact smart bulbs will have on all sorts of things in your life will be impressive.

Finish reading the article here -