The Amazon Dash button provides a small-scale example of where the future of IoT is taking us, with machines simplifying processes by relieving humans of the need to perform partial tasks or, in the ideal case, carrying them out autonomously.
IoT solutions for the end user are no longer a thing of the future. Smart homes are already connecting up the Internet of Things to heating and lighting systems, kitchen appliances and even security systems. Users can turn on the heat while on their way home from work. Or they can transmit live camera feeds from their home security systems to their tablets. Even smart cars are already operating on our streets. And while virtually all the latest car models have standard apps to report on traffic jams and the like, companies like Tesla are driving the development of autonomous vehicles even further. So, how exactly will the Internet of Things influence our daily lives in the future?
Up to now, the IoT has mainly served to facilitate work. But now, Amazon Dash spares us from having to laboriously click our way through website menus by completing the ordering process automatically. Other solutions make it possible to preheat the oven while you are watching television in a different room. The true potential of IoT however lies in fully automated systems: Technical appliances can handle not just partial aspects of everyday tasks, but even execute them completely. Being constantly connected with the Internet makes this possible, as it allows the continuous sharing and analysis of user data. Technology thus not only passively reacts to our daily routines, but actively intervenes based on our own activities. For example, an alarm clock goes off early in the morning, with the alarm signal serving as the trigger for further actions – which the user can configure him or herself. Whether you prefer to be woken up by rays of sunshine or drummed out of bed to the tune of heavy metal guitars – thanks to the new technology, the imagination knows no boundaries.
This setup allows for elaborate sequences to be precisely defined. If in the morning, for example, you routinely shoot out the door to go to work without turning off the heat or lights, you can save money by setting up a corresponding routine. As soon as you use your smartphone app to lock your front door, another app turns off the heat and lights. When you leave your workplace later that day, your smartphone communicates remotely with your smart home, i.e. your GPS transmitter recognizes your change of location and sends a corresponding message to your home IT system, which turns the heat back on in line with the outdoor temperature. The system analyzes continually collected data in real time, performing predefined tasks based on that information. Companies like IFTTT ("If This, Then That") have been working for a long time on services to facilitate such routines.
The start-up Conichi is pursuing a similar concept. The Berlin-based company digitalizes hotel processes – for example, during check-in or checkout. This takes place via beacon technology – small Bluetooth transmitters which are installed in the hotel and communicate with a smartphone app develop by Conichi. The data of hotel guests is automatically transmitted to the hotel database, allowing them to pay their bill via smartphone or lock their hotel room by pressing a button on the display.
The founders of Conichi are showcasing their product at SCALE11 2017 – the start-up showcase at CeBIT. This special display offers founders an opportunity to present their business ideas to interested tradeshow visitors and obtain feedback from experienced industry representatives. Entrepreneurs come into contact here with investors and potential partners and present innovations from a broad range of industries – in other words, the IoT ecosystem.
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