IoT: The Smarts Are Here

Last week we shared an explainer on the internet of things. If you have been following my blog, you would know that the internet of things is not a pipe dream, an abstract concept or even the subject of the latest sci-fi TV series or movie. The internet of things is as real as you and me. The launch of devices used in our daily lives, now enabled with internet connectivity to make them ‘smart’ is the internet of things. It’s the age of computerized everything and we are already a part of the internet of things.

A NASSCOM and Deloitte report says India will soon have 1.9 billion IoT devices installed, with a market size of $9 billion. The emphasis here is on consumer products. Armed with a smartphone that can download any app, consumers today can control any computerized a.k.a IoT-enabled device remotely.

The Chromecast dongle lets you play photos, videos, or music from laptops/tablets/phones on your TV. No wires needed! Simply put, a computerized USB-like device when connected to your TV and when connected to the internet on WiFi, will allow you to operate your TV as a computer! If you are in a particularly generous mood, splurge on a Smart TV (computerized TV that doesn’t require a dongle) to watch your favourite Netflix shows and chill.

Voice assistants which were first available only on smartphones have now found their way into many other devices including headphones, speakers, media streaming boxes, TVs, and even refrigerators. These voice assistants can carry out plenty of tasks such as setting alarms and reminders, searching the web for answers, controlling smart home devices, playing music, and casting videos. They have now become so clever that they can reply back with a thoughtful answer to even the silliest of questions thrown at them. Google Home and Amazon Echo Dot voice assistants are direct competitors and even cost almost the same.

Wi-Fi connected smart electrical switches are being actively installed in many Indian households and can be turned on/off remotely using a smartphone application. Equipped with smart switches, you don’t have to worry the next time you need to switch on the geyser before you arrive or turn off the AC long after you have stepped out of your home.

A smart home security system connects to your home Wi-Fi network so you can monitor and control your security devices using your smartphone and an app. Entry-level systems usually include some door and window sensors and a motion detector which can all be controlled by an app, which acts as a command centre, on your smartphone. These systems can be as sophisticated as money can buy and most apps also allow you to do things like view live and recorded video, lock and unlock doors, change thermostat settings, and silence alarms. In addition, nearly all the latest home security systems offer support for Amazon Echo and Google Home and in some cases Apple Siri, which allow you to unlock doors and arm or disarm your system with a spoken command to the voice assistant.

It is also a known fact that different shades of colours can affect our mood and the overall ambience of our surrounding. Modern smart lighting systems are based precisely on this principle. They can sync with the movie that you’re watching, a game that you’re playing, and even the music that you’re listening to so that you can witness a truly immersive, out-of-the-world experience. Smart home lighting system adds a unique touch of ambience through its colour gamut and can also be changed through preconfigured settings or manually by a user. Such systems are remotely operable and have light schedule configurations, which provides superlative control to the user.

Even our air-conditioner models come with an intelligent image sensor technology ensure that the users inside the room get an equal attention for an equal cooling comfort while minimizing the wastage of cooling. The image sensor detects the number of people in the room, their location, their activity etc and then cools accordingly to ensure maximum cooling comfort. It also recognizes the shape and size of the room and then regulates its swing angle with a special smart swing feature in a bid to optimize cooling. Another important feature is it also recognizes human absence in the room for a specified time and switches the AC off automatically to avoid cooling wastage. Some of the models also come with WiFi Connect technology which additionally comes with WiFi Direct functionality. The user simply needs to download the dedicated mobile app and pair it with a router. Once the connection is established, the user can control and monitor their AC from any part of the room. The best part is, even if the router or WiFi network is not present, one can still connect the smartphone (even the tablet) with the AC using WiFi Direct feature.

Still sounds like something in the distant future? Then visit your nearest electronics store now!