The Internet of Things and You – Imagine the Possibilities
We here on SAP’s Internet of Things team love working on what’s next in a world where so much more is becoming connected, from saving time to boosting productivity. Right now we are used to living with the benefits of having connected smartphones, but what if almost anything else we interacted with could have a sensor with connectivity? From coffee makers, coolers, and washing machines to jet engines and oil drills. And not just appliances or big machines, but clothing or voting booths.
Now, it may sound like I’m listing random “things” which don’t have much in common… and, admittedly, that’s kind of true! But the commonality is in the possibility of a vastly improved experience in a world where these “things” talk to each other, collect and stream data and insights, and then improve your life in real time as a result. If this is all sounding a bit abstract, let me give you a concrete example which hits close to home.
I’m just now getting back to work after a few weeks off for the birth of our son. And as any first-time parents know, no matter how much you plan or prepare, you still tend to feel clueless and exhausted. This is especially true when it comes to sleep. One of the downsides to having the Internet at your fingertips is that every piece of infant-care literature is quick to remind you of everything that can go wrong when your infant is sleeping (and when you’re sleeping and, thus, not fully alert watching your infant). So what are sleep-deprived, anxiety-prone, paranoid parents to do?
Well, what if your infant had a small sensor that provided real-time access to his heart rate and oxygen levels? And what if, if anything dropped below normal levels, alerts or sirens were to go off? The likelihood of that worst case scenario actually happening is pretty small, but the likelihood of a parent losing sleep from worry? Very high.
The interesting thing is that all of these “what if’s” are actually already here. My son wears a sensor in his sock, and I can track his vitals remotely from my phone. It’s simple and brilliant, and the peace of mind can translate into better bursts of sleep for his parents. But this use case is just the beginning. What if my son’s vitals and sleeping pattern data were stored as part of his medical profile and then analyzed as compared to an aggregate benchmark?
Rather than go on and on with a list of hypothetical “what if” questions or scenarios, at this point, I’m more interested in asking a much more fundamental question:
What do you want the Internet of Things to do for you and society? If anything is possible, where would you start?
We’ll have more to share on this topic soon, but suffice it to say, we are in the middle of some exciting times and invite you to be a part of it!
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