The Evolution of IoT and Where We’re Heading 0 108

The Evolution of IoT and Where We're Heading

Do you have the right idea about IoT (Internet of Things)? It may not mean what you think it means!

If you’ve been monitoring news about the Internet and modern technology, it’s a fair guess that you have encountered the phrase Internet of Things. Usually, people just call it IoT. While it does seem to represent an exciting new stage in high tech, there’s a problem: what the heck is it?

What we have with IoT is something nebulous, like the concept of justice. It seems like people have different ideas on what it means. Never mind how people disagree on which direction it should take. Like politics, you can’t get everyone to agree on how technology should evolve in the future. But the problem with IoT is that people can’t even agree on what it means now.

It’s probably understandable. It’s called the “Internet of Things”. Sure, people do have the same basic idea of what the Internet is. It’s just that people tend to disagree on exactly what those “things” are.

Origins

It’s only recently that the phrase became a hyped-up byword in tech articles in mainstream publications. Some people even believe that it’s a new concept. But the reality is that it’s actually an old idea. Tech entrepreneur Peter Lewis coined the phrase “Internet of Things” way back in 1985 when he gave a speech in D.C. That was a long time ago, and the Internet wasn’t even a true reality yet.

Lewis defined IoT as “the integration of people, processes and technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.”

The Evolution of IoT and Where We’re Heading

IoT and Home Automation

Over the years, people seem to believe that the “things” in the Internet of Things refers to the interconnected gadgets we use. Admittedly, it’s easy enough to understand why so much media attention has been focused on these gadgets. These devices are evolving at a rapid rate, and they keep on improving and developing. As each year passes, they become more sophisticated.

One simple illustration of what the public sees as IoT is the use of the smart bulb. In the old days, you need to manually flick a switch to turn on the light. Now that’s no longer the case.

Instead of walking to the wall switch to turn on the light, you can use your smartphone instead. A smart light bulb has tech features that allow it to connect to your Wi-Fi so it’s also connected to the Internet. Your smartphone also connects to the Internet through Wi-Fi. This setup allows you to control your smart light bulb through an app.

Now with this setup, you have more sophisticated means of turning off the light. You can use your smartphone like a TV remote, and turn the light on or off with the smartphone. You don’t have to be there in the room either. The app can tell you if the light bulb is on while you’re in the office, and you can turn the light off from there. The app can give you a virtual switch and you can use it to turn off the light.

In fact, with the app, you can even program the light bulb to turn on and off at programmed times. You can do this to keep the light turning on and off to make it seem like you’re at home. You can even connect the light bulb to a sensor or a security camera, and have it turn automatically on when the sensors detect someone’s presence.

So now we have a smart light bulb, a smartphone and an app, your Wi-Fi, and maybe even your security camera interconnected through Wi-Fi. You have lots of gadgets working together.

But is this the Internet of Things? Are the gadgets and the “things” the same thing? People seem to think so, but that may not be the best interpretation.

The Evolution of IoT and Where We're Heading
Home Automation

User Point of View

When you have a light bulb and a switch, it’s easy enough to understand how to operate the light bulb. You can flick the switch to a certain direction, and it can turn on. Flick the switch the other way, and it turns off. It’s so simple. You don’t have to read a manual or watch YouTube videos online for you to understand how it works.

The same thing goes with a good smart light bulb and an app in a smartphone. As the user, you don’t even have to understand the details of how it works. You don’t need to know the science of how your app and your smart light bulb work and how they transmit data through the Wi-Fi. You just need to use the app properly and then you can activate or program the smart light bulb to turn on and off whenever you want.

Developer Point of View

The developer needs to understand the user’s perspective. That means they have to acknowledge that the user has no real need to understand the complex science required for the smart light bulb or an app.

Instead, the developer has to keep things simple. Using the app must be as intuitive and easy to understand as the wall switch of a regular light bulb.

This is the usability factor, and it’s crucial for the light bulb and the app to gain mainstream success. People will tend to reject gadgets and features that they don’t understand. It doesn’t matter if the people understand how it works. They just have to understand what to do to make it work. That’s the crucial difference.

Changing Your Mindset

Basically, you have a light bulb and a smart version of it, and they’re the same thing. You have a wall switch, and now you have an app. They’re the same thing too, as they both work as the switch.

Thus, the Internet of Things isn’t really about interconnected gadgets. They’re about interconnected concepts.  That’s how people and developers need to see IoT for it to become more prevalent.

You can’t focus on the advancement of the technology. These advances must be out of sight. For users, it’s about how easy things are to use. Focusing on easy UX is also how developers must see IoT. So even while IoT devices keep on getting more sophisticated, the real challenge is to keep it simple!

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9 Biggest Trends in The Tech Industry Today 0 77

9 Biggest Trends in The Tech Industry Today

So what’s happening in the tech industry lately? IT, like fashion and the auto industry, moves in certain trends. If you want to keep up with your competitors and continue to engage meaningfully with consumers, you need to be aware of these trends. Here’s a list of the more significant ones:

  1. Data Streaming & Analytics

    For many consumers, data streaming is all about watching a TV show while you’re downloading it. You don’t have to download the whole thing first before you can watch it.

Now for Netflix fans, this is certainly convenient, but in the world of IT, people now expect real-time analytics. No longer can people tolerate waiting for data to be gathered and then read at the end of the day. Now they want the data in real time.

With real-time analytics, you can then make improvements and changes more quickly, while you also identify problems so they don’t get worse. You can monitor demand so you can match product availability precisely. With these improvements in performance and scalability, it’s likely that this trend will continue in the future.

  1. China is More Open to Open Source

    In the old days, Chinese companies regarded source code as their intellectual property. But in the last few years, there has been a shift from this point of view. Now prominent Chinese brands Alibaba and Baidu are releasing their code as open source. It’s likely that they’ve realized the impact of open source from examples like OpenStack, Kubernetes, and Docker.

Insisting on intellectual property is all about trying to lock in their own special knowledge. But open source does offer its own sets of rewards. By releasing the source code as open source for other developers to use, they can instead build their own ecosystem.

Chinese companies are also sharing the open source with each other. This can result in a uniquely Chinese ecosystem that can best respond to singularly Chinese problems. In fact, Chinese open source is often written for China first. It can achieve success even without moving outside their country’s borders. So the documentation is generally in Chinese as well. So for those in the rest of the world, we have to understand that if we’re not Chinese, we aren’t the primary audience.

  1. Feature Parity

    Let’s say that there’s a developer who creates an app, and it does extremely well on a particular platform. Now they want to expand it to another platform, but they want to make sure that the app in the new platform has the same features as the app on the old platform. This is called feature parity.

This can be a good thing since you don’t want the users of one platform complaining that they don’t have the features available on the other platform. So if you have a video game, you want to have basically the same features whether it’s on the PlayStation or Xbox.

But it can be difficult to achieve feature parity, and that can lead to delays. Also, sometimes a feature can be excluded when it’s not really that good anyway for the app.

  1. Virtual Machines

    A virtual machine is an emulation of your computer system. It has the same functions and architecture as a physical computer. It’s an isolated environment with its own OS and applications. They’re now everywhere, as numerous companies have realized the advantages they offer. It’s because of VMs that we now have popular cloud services as well.

With these VMs, you can try out new programs and a new Windows OS without crewing up your company’s day to day operations. You can see how well a new program works, when you’re testing it with a particular OS or when it’s supposed to work with other programs. VMs can also support even outdated software such as Windows XP, unlike physical computers that no longer fully support that OS.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is now everywhere, though luckily we’re not yet at Skynet-level. The names in AI include Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook. They’re in numerous major industries, including the automotive industry and healthcare.

A robot named Sophia became a Saudi citizen. Other AI machines have beaten a world-class poker player and learned to fly drones. These machines and programs have been able to compose original music, write novels, and even bake cookies. They’ve developed so fast and spread so widely that Stephen Hawking thinks AI may eventually replace humans.

  1. Smart Home

With so many devices and appliances these days, consumers are looking for greater levels of centralization. They want to control as many appliances as possible with the fewest controls. This explains the rising popularity of smart home automation when lots of smart gadgets can be controlled by a single smartphone. This single smartphone can have lots of apps to control every smart gadget at home.

  1. Preparing for 5G

    By the end of 2019, there can be a 5G network in place, and 5G phones may be available. This can make your Internet speed 10 times faster than 4G, and lots of homes and businesses can make use of those speeds. This will make streaming even more mainstream. Right now, a large number of developers and engineers are preparing for this huge leap in the IT industry.

9 Biggest Trends in The Tech Industry Today
Voice Search
  1. Voice Search

    It was only a few years ago when voice search was somewhat unreliable. You say one thing, and your smartphone Google searches for another thing. Nowadays the error rate has plummeted. In fact, many voice recognition programs can recognize speech better than actual human transcribers. This can make it possible to communicate with devices more seamlessly.

  2. Automation

Now that ATMs are common, automation is once again poised to change the modern tech landscape. In some parts of the UK, automation will end up taking over 1 in 3 jobs.

In the US, rising minimum wage levels are causing fast-food joints to contemplate full automation for their restaurants. In fact, it’s been found that automated kiosks generated more money than their human counterparts.

Why Getting Enough Sleep Should Be a Priority in 2018 0 66

Why Getting Enough Sleep Should Be a Priority in 2018

It’s already February 2018 which means that it’s still early enough for you to set your New Year goals, rethink priorities and start working on that New Year’s resolution that you’ve always wanted to do.

Perhaps you’ve got a new pair of leggings, cleaned up your wardrobe, started exercising more, and maybe you’ve even overhauled the contents of your fridge and have now filled it with fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods.

You’re pretty amazing for starting off the New Year with such positivity and productivity. But the thing is, you’re still forgetting one of the most overlooked and most important aspects of an individual’s health.

Can you guess what it is?  Hint: babies do it all of the time (and no it’s not crying) and it’s very important for a child’s growth.

You’ve guessed it! It’s sleep.

You know the thing that most adults never get enough of! Perhaps it’s your busy work schedule or perhaps you’re used to sleeping less and less with all the parties, drinking and clubbing that you’ve been doing. The thing is, we need quality shut-eye in our lives and you need to make time for it if you want to live a healthy life. Sleep is so important that it’s even in the Holistic Health Triangle and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

So if you plan to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve success in your life, then you’re going to need lots of sleep. A study conducted by Mattress Firm showed that sleep is the key to healthy habits.  It showed that people who exercise for more than four hours a day tend to make it a priority to sleep early and also wake up early. In short, these people sleep a whole lot better.

startuphood Why Getting Enough Sleep Should Be a Priority in 2018
People who exercise for more than four hours a day tend to make it a priority to sleep

The director of Duke University’s sleeping program, Dr. Sujay Kansagra has advised that failing to get the recommended hours of sleep (7 to 9 hours) is seriously detrimental to one’s health.

Dr. Kansagra says that people who are sleep deprived are often more prone to poor heart health, weakened immunity, poor diet, and they often fall into bad habits that are detrimental to one’s health.

Dr. Kansagra also added that sleep deprivation also affects the mind. People who are sleep deprived aren’t just cranky, often times they are prone to mood swings, depression, irritability, lack of focus, and irrational behavior.

So in short, lack of sleep makes you prone to health problems ranging from heart conditions to a weakened immune system. But it doesn’t stop there because lack of sleep also makes you irrational, cranky, moody, and gives you the focus and mental capacity of a primate.

If these things don’t convince you to get enough sleep, then we don’t know what will!

If you want to be the healthiest that you can be, then make sure to get the recommended hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep is almost impossible in modern times with our busy work schedules, stress, and anxiety.

But if you can’t sleep 7-9 hours a day, then there’s still hope. You can make up for the lost hours by improving the quality of your sleep.

Why Getting Enough Sleep Should Be a Priority
Why Getting Enough Sleep Should Be a Priority

Here are some methods to increase the quality of your sleep

  • No gadgets or tech before going to sleep

Dr. Kansagra says that sleep is often a flexible part of our schedule and we often sacrifice it for other activities like work, social events, and other hobbies.

New flash guys:  You’re not in college anymore! You don’t have the vitality to go partying, pulling out all-nighters, or binge-watching a series all night long. If you plan to do those things, then expect to take a major blow to your health.

Sorry to say this, but watching late night Netflix shows or using your phone late at night is a big no-no.

This doesn’t mean that you have to abstain from touching your phone or avoid checking up your emails late at night.

Dr. Kansagra simply recommends that you don’t come into contact with the blue light that computers and handheld devices make for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix can wait until early in the morning.

  • Make sure that you’re comfortable

Good sleep means more energy, better mood, and overall a better you. And to get this “better you”, you just have to make sure that you’re not sleeping on a hard and uncomfortable bed.

That’s right, you need to replace that cheap and uncomfortable mattress with something better. Because the right mattress can determine whether you get to sleep well or not.

Dr. Kansagra even agrees with this. He says that the right mattress can get you into a nice comfortable sleeping mood. And if you are comfortable at night, then it would far easier for you to enter the deeper stages of sleep and wake up fully energized and refreshed.

If you’re looking for good mattresses, then check out Mattress Firm.  They have a huge assortment of mattresses from well-known brands like Beautyrest, Seta, Dream Bed Lux and so much more. You’ll find the comfiest mattresses here.

But you don’t have to stop there! You can make it easier to sleep by using lavender essential oils to put you in a sleepy mood. You can even get a stuffed toy and cuddle with Mr. Snuggles if it helps you sleep at night.

  • Get Sweaty

Have you ever wondered why it’s so easily falling asleep after having sex? It’s not because you had the time of your life (although it’s part of the reason though ;)), it’s because you worked up a sweat doing all of those naughty things.

Sex is considered to be a form of exercise. And a study by Mattress Firm shows that adults who exercise more are prone to sleep early and fall asleep easily.

That means that you’re nightly “sexy time” sessions with your partner is helping you sleep better.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to sex. You can hit the gym or do some laps in your local park. Not only will you have a stronger, faster, and fitter body but you will also have better sleep as well.

Also, here’s a great post we recommend – 8 Tips for Developing Good Habits (And Keeping Them)

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