editor's blog
Subscribe Now

What’s in an IoT Name? And Who Goes First?

iStock_000051490138_Small.jpgAt Imec’s ITF a couple months ago, the Internet of Things (IoT) loomed large, as it has a tendency to do everywhere. Seems to be the great unifying force, the collective raison d’être for us all.

But they had a different spin: the “intuitive” internet of things. It seems that everyone is trying to carve out their own version of the IoT, which is easily done with a concept that vague.

Imec also discussed public projects like the environmental sampling prototype in place in Eindhoven. And it occurred to me that this might be a back door into the consumer IoT space.

Let’s take those in order.

How to define the IoT? We recently saw the internet of moving things (I wasn’t buying it). Then there’s Cisco’s “internet of everything.” I’ve also had a hard time with “everything” being better than simply “things” because, obviously, the IoT will never include everything, so it feels like taking all the IoT hype (of which there is plenty already) and then dialing it to 11.

So what is this “intuitive” IoT concept? Imec’s idea here is that the Things themselves melt into the background. In the end, what we experience isn’t a gadget, but rather a service enabled by a gadget or a combination of gadgets.

One example from Imec’s Harmke de Groot is a smart kitchen you can add using this salt and pepper shakers, where recipes are suggested based on available ingredients, an in-hood sniffer can make suggestions on work in progress, and perishables can be monitored for freshness. These would be enabled by a host of sensors in refrigerators, cabinets, and on and around the stove itself.

This reminds me of past presentations on context awareness (a phrase that seems to have faded out of the headlines lately), where interfaces fade away and machines anticipate our needs. Nice idea in principle, although fraught with complication. Then again, we’ve solved complicated problems before. It certainly seems that the focus on what IoT devices enable is the right focus. Just not sure it needs a new name (especially IIoT, which looks like the Industrial IoT).

The Eindhoven environmental sampling project was held out as another example: as far as residents are concerned, there’s a service that tells them the local air quality. The fact that this service is brought to you by a bunch of devices hidden away somewhere is secondary. But this particular application also got me thinking about my usual background question about where the Consumer IoT profits will come from.

The essence of that question is that there is a ton of investment going into IoT technology – and presumably someone is expecting a return on that investment (RoI). In the consumer space, where will that come from? Are there compelling services that will make consumers either spend more to save somewhere else or simply spend more? Because if they don’t spend more than they do without the IoT, then it’s hard to see where the RoI is. Businesses can get advice from an innovation consultant on how they can implement IoT to their operations.

But projects like the environmental monitoring one bridge between industrial-looking and consumer-looking IoT. It has the scale of an industrial installation, but the beneficiaries of the services are consumers. Let’s call it the Municipal IoT. Things like street parking, street lighting, air quality. Municipalities are, to some degree, being forced into those applications. Just as with the Industrial IoT, there are efficiencies to be gained. Growth can be managed better, costs can be reduced, and quality of service can be improved. Unlike the Industrial IoT, however, this will be very visible to consumers.

So it got me wondering: will we ease into the Consumer IoT via the Municipal IoT, where exigencies force implementation without consumers having to buy off? This might defray a chunk of the fundamental technology investment, reducing the residual RoI needed from consumers via their in-home gadgets. It also gets consumers used to engaging with the services that the IoT enables, potentially stimulating demand for further, more personalized in-home services.

Speculation on my part. I think that segmenting the IoT in such a manner can have value for focusing investment for best return. Renaming the IoT, on the other hand, seems less beneficial.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jul 1, 2022
We all look for 100% perfection and want to turn our dreams (expectations) into reality as far as we can. Are you also looking for a magic wand to turn expectation into reality? The story applies to... ...
Jun 30, 2022
Learn how AI-powered cameras and neural network image processing enable everything from smartphone portraits to machine vision and automotive safety features. The post How AI Helps Cameras See More Clearly appeared first on From Silicon To Software....
Jun 28, 2022
Watching this video caused me to wander off into the weeds looking at a weird and wonderful collection of wheeled implementations....

featured video

Multi-Vendor Extra Long Reach 112G SerDes Interoperability Between Synopsys and AMD

Sponsored by Synopsys

This OFC 2022 demo features Synopsys 112G Ethernet IP interoperating with AMD's 112G FPGA and 2.5m DAC, showcasing best TX and RX performance with auto negotiation and link training.

Learn More

featured paper

3 key considerations for your next-generation HMI design

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Human-Machine Interface (HMI) designs are evolving. Learn about three key design considerations for next-generation HMI and find out how low-cost edge AI, power-efficient processing and advanced display capabilities are paving the way for new human-machine interfaces that are smart, easily deployable, and interactive.

Click to read more

featured chalk talk

E-Mobility: Electronic Challenges and Solutions

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Würth Elektronik

The future electrification of the world’s transportation industry depends on the infrastructure we create today. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Sven Lerche from Würth Elektronik about the electronic challenges and solutions for today’s e-mobility designs and EV charging stations. They take a closer look at the trends in these kinds of designs, the role that electronic parts play in terms of robustness, and how Würth’s REDCUBE can help you with your next electric vehicle or EV charging station design.

Click here for more information about Würth Elektronik Automotive Products