Humans have a multitude of senses. The five traditionally recognized senses are sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. People love to share their experiences in life – such as describing their recent trip to an exotic place, eating one of the best delicacies in town, watching the latest movie, frustration in driving on a congested road, unpredictable weather, and much more. Usually, they will describe these experiences with their close friends and families when they meet physically. That’s how we traditionally socialize. That was the pre-smartphone and pre-Internet days.
However, with the advent of computers, smartphones, and access to the Internet – everything has changed. The ability to connect and share your experiences with your friends, families, and even strangers has transformed how we socialize. The best way to substitute physical contact and sharing is via the Internet.
We have various social media applications that will help extend your five traditional senses to the next level via your smartphones. For example:
We checked in to our favorite places with Swarm/Foursquare application and willingly shared these check-ins with your contacts. This application uses a simple GPS (location) and camera (sight) to remind you of the places.
Instagram is regularly used by people who love to share photos (weirdly – food photos before dinner or lunch). It’s more like your extended “eye” (camera) that captures moments in your life.
Twitter users love to tweet and to listen to other tweets. They are extending their “ears” to all the chats. This includes apps like WeChat and Whatsapp.
People want another channel to convey their frustrations, ideas, and feelings. These emotions are extended through Facebook.
Photos are captured, locations are geo-tagged and stored automatically using digital diaries (or Lifelogging) such as Day One and Gyroscope. Lifeloggers love these apps because they want an easy way to recall all those memorable moments someday in the future.
Waze is another excellent example that helps users share their traffic status, and in return, they will get the whole traffic status of the city that will help ease their travel in choosing the suitable routes and the right time to travel.
So, what does all of the above do with the Internet of Things (IOT)? As mentioned in my previous post, the smartphone is one of the best examples of an IOT device. It helps to extend the human senses. If things/devices are given suitable sensors, they will provide the individual with a better power to sense.
- What if – we can have our home sense smoke, motion, and sight. What if – we will be able to know the availability of car park of the places we wanted to go.
- What if – we can monitor and control the usage of our building electricity?
- What if – we can track the whereabouts of our public transport such as buses, taxis or trains?
- What if we have an extended “eye” that monitors the city’s traffic condition?
Thus, when people ask me this simple question – “What is the Internet of Things?“. Rather than giving them a technical answer about the different sensors, wireless technologies, and big data analytics, I will start from why it’s essential to know the condition of your assets, what’s happening to the surrounding area of your interest and why the need to share that information. Later on, they will quickly understand how we can extend our human senses via the concept of IOT.