Amazon chief technology officer Dr Werner Vogels
When your fridge is network enabled, it can send you a tweet that your milk is gone. Or, can this job be better done, perhaps, by the trash bin? It will scan the empty milk container you threw out and order one for you.
Dr Werner Vogels, chief technology officer at Amazon Web Services, posed this two-pronged scenario as one of the ways the Internet of Things (Iot) is “talking to the consumer side of things”.
In his keynote at the AWS re:Invent conference, Vogels listed new applications for IoT, or the growing network of connected devices, and their impact on both consumers and enterprises.
He noted how IoT is influencing behaviour. DrivePlus provides a plug-in to your car which determines how well you drive. This information is provided to your insurance company which can lower your premium if you are a good driver, said Vogel.
Then, there is also the “social cooler”. It opens only when two of your friends check in at the same location so the three of you can enjoy your beer together.
Another case is the Internet enabled toothbrush. You can brush your teeth while watching your phone to see whether you are doing it properly.
Dropcam allows users to analyse data and video streams. “Video is no longer something to be watched, it is something to be analysed,” he stated.
While a lot of things are happening in the consumer space, Vogel said the area of IoT that is “heating up” is in the industrial sector.
Sensors are now placed at the bottom of the ocean and the data they gather flow into AWS to be analysed. Data generated from the Mars Rover also flows back to their cloud systems to be ‘collaboratively assessed’.
In New Zealand, a power company built an “interesting app” (Mighty River Power’s GLOBUG) to alert pre-paid customers when their account is running low and need to top off their amount. The customers have an internet enabled lamp whose colour will change if their money is running out (orange for low credit alert, red for disconnection warning).
“Apparently it is very effective,” said Vogels.
Street lamps, meanwhile, provide data to the city’s light management system. After a football game, for instance, the system can light a path for people going to the train station for the ride home and save on energy when no one is around.
Vogels, however, said some IoT uses are a “little bit extreme”.
For instance, researchers have discovered that sport teams that work together have their heart rate go up and down in a synchronised manner. If a player is not functioning well, his or her heart rate will be out sync with the other players.
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