In the photo, Bernie Goldbach felt inside the internet of things this past semester.
THE EMERGING Internet of Things caught up with me this acaedmic year. While simultaneously positioning myself 50 miles apart, I went beyond my Fitbit to a professional presence where I was inspired by creativity.
This September, I will deconstruct the internet of things during the Emerging Trends module on the Honours Degree programme I teach. It's a confusing space full of makers, clever startups and large corporations. And it has huge market potential.
I shop at Maplin's, an electronics shop, and every time I walk through the front door, I see parts of the internet of things on the shop walls. Inexpensive Arduino microcontrollers are at eye level for our five year old daughter. A 3D printer in Dublin makes easy work of prototyping. Liam Casey's PCH specialises in bringing together production and distribution. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo help bring money to the table and often enhance awareness of a product before it hits the market.
We're already using apps to control appliances wirelessly across the internet. Our touchscreens have become universal remote controls with devices like Belkin's WeMo line.
Where I live in rural Ireland, I wonder if the Internet of Things will usher in a new age of driverless cars. Nothing fascinates me more than seeing how smart our car becomes with Nokia Maps and Google LAYAR. Our five year old back seat driver now tells us where the blue line on her screen recommends a turn to the left or right. And she is fast to announce when the app tells about speeds above posted limits.
I think there is a big opportunity for someone to develop a platform play for the Internet of Things. On App.net, I see new developments almost every week. Several home automation providers such as SmartThings and Ninja Blocks have their own software platforms already. Infrastructure like App.net could further leverage their presence into traditional social networking.
During the summer, we plan to carve out a simple physical space that will connect two locations 50 miles apart. We are barely touching the Internet of Things as we start the process. And while our shared education space is exciting on its own merit, I think our efforts are just baby steps along a road that will change dramatically during the rest of the decade.
Bernie Goldbach teaches elements of the internet of things as part of the creative multimedia degree programme in the Limerick School of Art & Design.
Required Reading: Kevin Kelly -- What Technology Wants ASIN B0052AUH4C