"There are so many ways that an Internet of Things could impact people’s lives that it is hard to describe everything. Distilling it to a few key areas helps define what the scope of an Internet of Things could be: infrastructure (buildings and utilities), consumer (cars and homes), health care and businesses (consumer products and retail locations).
Weather-related sensors could help agriculture by monitoring the moisture in the air or ground and give farmer’s warning about droughts. Smart buildings can provide enhanced security for the people that enter them or warning on disasters such as earthquakes. Connected cars can improve traffic flows or allow functions to be controlled remotely. Items within the home (such as the toaster) can be controlled and monitored and even connected to each other.
Health care is an interesting avenue for the Internet of Things. Certain aspects of the body could be connected to the Internet. Heart sensors could give patients and doctors data to prevent disease. Sensors that monitor white blood cells could give cancer or AIDS patients warning of a relapse.
The scope and impact of the Internet of Things is almost limitless. It is just up to the innovators of the world to be creative and find ways to make it work."
Many of the barriers to adopting the Internet of Things in the home revolve around design issues. For example, Williams says a substantial amount of intelligence is required to enable alerts to be sent when the user wants to receive them – not when the events actually occur. (...)
The Internet of Things not only has potential in the home, but businesses could also benefit from it to find out what is happening in real time. For example, it could be used to track the exact location of parcels or drivers. (...)
Google has already made a move into this area, with the release in June this year of Google Maps Coordinate which allows businesses to track exactly where employees are located through Google Maps. (...)
There are numerous issues around privacy and security. For example, allowing a fridge to connect to the internet could create potential holes for hackers to get into personal networks. How readily consumers will accept these potential invasions of privacy remain to be seen, Williams says, but a tightening of online security will help.
More than a decade ago, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology pioneer Kevin Ashton coined the term "Internet of Things." The idea was that every item, product, or "thing" would have a unique identifier just as every computer does on the Internet. RF tags, of course, would provide the means by which these things could be tracked and identified.
For logistics managers, the Internet of Things would be a game changer. Among other benefits, it would make it possible to track the flow of goods into and out of a warehouse at the item level. Some retailers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers are already experimenting with item-level tracking. Nonetheless, it appears that the ability to track everything is still several years away.
Why? A recent report from Frost & Sullivan ("Analysis of the Active RFID and Sensor Networks Market") offers some insight into the barriers to making the Internet of Things a reality. One of the top challenges, it notes, is getting more companies to buy the type of tags necessary to make this possible. (...)
As for why users are shying away from active tags, there are a couple of reasons. First, there's the lack of common industry standards. While passive tags use data standards developed by the EPCglobal consortium, there's no such system in place for active tags. At the moment, makers of active tags use different technology protocols, such as Wi-Fi, Rubee, Zigbee, ultra wide band, infrared, and ultrasound. All of those protocols require different standards, hindering widescale adoption of the technology. (...)
Although a standard would hasten the adoption of active tags, there's still another obstacle—cost. Bhattacharya says a passive basic tag goes for $2 to $5 per unit,while an active tag costs between $10 and $15. And that's the low end of the range. If those tags are embedded with sensors and support multiple technologies, the cost of an active tag can top $100 per unit.