Most of us are conditioned to wait for major companies: Apple, Microsoft, Google to come up with the latest cool technologies.
However, we are going to need to make room in our expectations for a new breed of innovators entering the Frey. These innovators will entertain us with their ideas, innovations and surprise us with the pace at which they come up with new ideas.
Who are these people? You ask. Well. You and me ... all of us!
Your children, co-worker, neighbor and/or just anyone.
You may by now be familiar with the term the Internet of Things or iOT. Politicians have latching onto it, major companies are poised to exploit it and for good reasons. The goal is to transform our life style using an army of miniature computing devices that are used to take care of menial tasks. Well, that's the idea anyway!
Technology has become smaller, faster better connected as we learn to make our systems more powerful and capability with less size and power consumption. A good example of this is Intel now offers a Windows computer in a device the size of a thumb drive for under $150 US.
Before you start wondering what you would use this for, let me draw your attention to automation of life's menial tasks. It's true that while we can do things for ourselves with our busy lifestyles, it is much efficient to have technology work for us. My electronic floor sweeper was not on my shopping list five years ago, but today I confess it has become one of the must-haves.
Here are a couple of people trying out new ideas using new technologies that will get you started:
The first is Netflix, where someone has designed a little piece technology to pause the movie if you fall asleep. Yes perhaps it's a nice to have, but let it open your eyes to possibility, maybe you can do better!
Remote control socks, are you serious?
Okay, just look and let the idea stimulate your creative side.
Netflix Socks is a kit anyone can buy, and link to any device in the house, maybe it will give you an idea that will change the way we live!
Another idea is the Amazon button, which debuted in 2015, letting you re-order a specific item such as detergent when you’re running low with the touch of a button. However, the technology can be used in other ways through the capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT).
The button works on the Amazon Web Services framework and allows an average developer to use the IoT device to control just about anything with one press.
MiniCloudBox developers (or anyone with basic experience on AWS) will be able to implement the Dash button to do all sorts of things through AWS or MiniCloudBox.
Watch this example to see how an Amazon iOT button can be used to control a Phillips light and start the air conditioning to cool down the car prior to leaving for work. This example uses Python and C## and would ideally be set up within a container on the Mini Cloud Box so it uses minimal resources, starts whenever the Mini Cloud Box starts and is included in backup schedules.
Great project for the budding household genius to try! Too technical for you?
Don't worry we have easier things for you to try, stay connected and we will share them with you.
Post update January 2019
Now looking back on this post some time later I have quite a few devices like this working in my office and home. These days I use buttons like this, some using Keinetic energy instead of replacing batteries, Google Home, Alexa, guesture sensors and those cool Xiaomi cubes for controlling devices.
The truth is they all have their purpose, whether your running in the door carrying a bag of groceries, fumbling for a switch in the dark or just trying to turn on the sterio without needing to remember exactly which sequence buttons on three remotes works best for simple background music.
Adoption is still however an obstacle for consumers, who may find themselves confused by needing to purchase different gateways from different manufacturers to get all the features they require. Apart from the additional cost of these additional gateways needed to support new devices, there is the time needed to configure, maintain and keep these devices running when you have a real job to attend to.
For this and other reasons I always recommend you try to select home/office automation devices by first choosing the range of sensors, switches, lights and accessories you see yourself implementing over time. Dont be alarmed if that involves having 2 or 3 gateways (e.g. Smart things, Xaiomi, Z-Wave, Zigbee) because thats still manageable.