Advent at Grakn Labs: Internet of Things and Wearables

#GraknLovesTech: 9th December 2016

Raphaëlle Roffo
Dec 9, 2016 · 4 min read

Here at Grakn Labs we love technology. So much so, that, this month, we’ve decided to share our favourite technology moments from 2016. Each weekday during December, we will open a window on our virtual advent calendar, and peek inside to recall some of the greatest innovation or news that the past year has brought us.

Please recommend and share with hashtag #GraknLovesTech if you enjoy our posts. And if you have any favourite links you’d like us share, just leave us a comment or tweet us @graknlabs!

In 2016, the Internet of Things (IoT) has impacted our lives in both visible and invisible ways. Fitness trackers tend to be what comes to mind when we talk about the IoT, but there is much more to it and some of the IoT applications are not directly visible to all of us. So here is a selection of some of 2016 best innovations in the wearable and smart platforms technologies.

  1. Wearable technology

Wearables refers to all those smart connected devices that you wear on your body or as an implant, and that collect personal data, such as your health. Fitness trackers are by far the most popular type of wearable. We were pretty sad yesterday to read that Pebble, a pioneer of smart watches and the most funded Kickstarted project back in 2012, is being acquired by Fitbit. But there was more to the news on wearable technology in 2016.

We were especially interested in wearable technology for health — with devices that help you control your blood pressure, stress levels, fertility, weight, sleep…Take, for instance, this asthma management system:

Or this — slightly creepy — wireless coach called Moov:

Personally, I’m not sure I would love having somebody that forces me to run faster or to change gears on my bike, but I’m sure athletes and very fit people can see the value added. Also, the technology itself is quite fascinating! And there are many, many more devices that allow you to track all your vitals:

Besides healthcare applications, wearables are seeping into the future of payment with Apple Play on the Apple Watch, or Android Wear etc. Wearable payments are expected to reach $100bn by 2018!

2. Smart homes

The Internet of Things is also about all smart home appliances from smart thermostats such as Hive, intelligent fridges to other connected sockets.

One product that produced a lot of hype this year is the Amazon Echo. It’s basically a wireless speaker, so you can stream music, radio etc. to it, letting you control your music without picking up your phone or walking over to your laptop, you can ask for the weather by saying “Alexa, what’s the weather?” or get other information, a bit like Siri.

You can also install “skills” developed by third parties (the equivalent of smartphone apps). With the Uber skill, for example, can order you a car, or Just Eat can request a takeaway. But a big focus with skills is the smart home. If you have a smart thermostat such as Hive, Philips Hue lights or anything using Samsung’s SmartThings, you can download a skill and then, use Amazon Echo as the one bot to control them all! The Echo then becomes the omniscient hub for your smart home: with a sentence you can turn off your lights or warm up your house.

3. The Internet of Things hacking

But undoubtedly, the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against Dyn was the most surprising Internet of Things event of the year. The culprit were poorly designed and constructed devices that allowed a major interruption of infrastructure and therefore of other internet-based services. To put it simply: hackers exploited major security flaws in these devices (people tend to set very weak passwords for their smart home devices and platforms, so they end up being easy to crack by hackers) to force thousands of devices to connect on Dyn’s servers, leading to the DDOS.

According to Scott Nelson, there are “3 key lessons for manufacturers from this event: (1) security is hard to retrofit, (2) security is not just IT’s problem, and (3) security is about device behavior as well as data.”

To conclude, we’ll leave you with this sequence from Back to the Future, where wearable technology was quite accurately predicted! 5-second pizza hydrators, voice controlled fruit baskets, TV glasses visors and… well, essentially: Skype on a smart TV!

Grakn Labs wishes you a lovely weekend and our Advent Calendar will be back on Monday to chat to you about Virtual Assistants! Stay tuned!

GRAKN.AI is an open-source knowledge graph data platform that brings knowledge ontologies and transactional data together to enable highly intelligent querying of data. Querying is performed through Graql, a declarative, knowledge-oriented graph query language for retrieving explicitly stored and implicitly derived information, and for performing graph analytics and automated reasoning. Grakn and Graql will help you effectively manage and harness large-scale graph data by allowing you to model it expressively, migrate it efficiently, and to draw insightful knowledge from your deep information network.

Find out more about Grakn Labs from our website!


Creators of TypeDB and TypeQL

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