Connecting Minds and Machines: ‘The Internet of Things’

By Shayna Rogoff, Account Executive, Global Entrepreneurship Week

You’ve likely heard of the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ – or IoT – at some point, but you might also be scratching your heading figuring out what it is or what it means.

In simple terms, The Internet of Things refers to the connection of products to the Internet. Cars, speakers, kitchen appliances, and even locks on a door can all be connected through IoT. These products are networks that generate huge volumes of consumer data that flow to computers for analysis. Products like FitBit electronic wristbands and autonomous cars have taken the world by storm. To understand how much the internet is infiltrating day-to-day products, below are three examples that fully embrace the era of ‘The Internet of Things.’

The Tasty One Top

Buzzfeed, a media company most known for its millennial mix of quirky quizzes, celebrity news and investigative reporting, has taken a huge leap into the kitchen appliance realm with the Tasty One Top. The $149 bluetooth-enabled induction countertop burner is designed to help the consumer cook the recipes he/she sees from Buzzfeed’s Tasty cooking videos. Here’s how the Tasty One Top works: the user downloads the Tasty iOS app which he/she can use to access more than 1,700 recipes and videos. The user can pick the recipe he/she wishes to cook and the app will send the appropriate settings to the Tasty One Top. In addition, the app includes instructions while the user cooks, so he/she knows when to flip a pancake or add vegetables to a stir fry.

Zeeq Smart Pillow

With today’s technology, even sleep is smarter. The Zeeq Smart Pillow is a memory foam pillow that comes with a robust number of different features. The pillow will automatically detect snoring and then gently vibrate to change the user’s sleep position without waking him/her up. In addition, the pillow will track sleep motion, track snoring decibels, wirelessly play audio, set alarms, and provide a daily report on sleep quality through a smartphone application.

 

 

Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is a smart thermostat that automatically adapts as the user’s life and the seasons change. Nest users have the ability to remotely control their home or office temperature through a smart phone application. A key part of the Nest Thermostat is the mission to conserve energy. When the user’s home is empty, the smart thermostat adjusts the temperature to conserve energy. Since 2011, the Next Learning Thermostat has saved over 14 million kilowatt-hours of energy. On average, this IoT product has saved U.S. customers about 10-12% on their heating bills and about 15% on their cooling bills. Nest reports an estimate average savings of $131 to $145 a year – which speaks to the product’s tag line: “Programs itself. Then pays for itself.”

As impressive as these devices may be, it is important to realize there are risks to IoT. Two years ago, an internet-enabled refrigerator was compromised and began sending spam while making ice cubes. Baby monitors have been turned into eavesdropping devices, and there are concerns about the security of medical devices. These are just a few of the many threats arising with the rise of the IoT.

From smart pillows to smart cooktops, the Internet of Things comes with limitless opportunities and challenges. These technologic innovations connect minds and machines and have the potential to produce unprecedented levels of productivity among people and business. The best thing consumers can do is educate themselves about what the IoT is and the potential impacts that can be seen on their livelihood.

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