Last week we talked about how security management platforms are the logical hub for integrating a diverse range of non-security “Internet of Things”(IoT) devices. Manufacturers within the security industry have been building interoperability and open standards into their solutions for the last 5-10 years – before most of us were familiar with the term “IoT” – and these open standards have set the stage for the creating a next generation of IoT management solutions. Current security-centric platforms are manned by trained staff and management. Moving forward, these same platforms are the logical method for integrating a huge range of IoT devices representing diverse applications and industries. And, their ability to communicate with each other will allow administrators of IoT management platforms to address, solve, and even automate responses to problems in a way never before possible.
What are some of those problems/solutions? What are the examples of non-security products/devices that can solve problems across industries, by utilizing the open platforms already in place within the security industry?
Let’s first start with non-security problem/solutions that may be viewed as personal use. Next week we will review more business related applications. And let’s also start with uses that currently exist and how they are evolving.
The “Internet of Things” is not a new operating system or cell phone, or an upgrade on either. It didn’t just begin last year when a new unicorn startup was funded. The phrase was first coined in 1999 by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton while working at Auto-ID Labs (originally called Auto-ID centers, referring to a global network of objects connected to radio-frequency identification, or RFID). IoT goes beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. In a Jan/2016 report, Intel® refers to the IoT as the “fourth industrial revolution” when the physical and digital worlds will truly converge.
In other words, for years the shiny, new “smart” toys we all love to use and talk about on Facebook and Linkedin are the front line of this “Internet of Things”. And the things that make those toys go are the open, private, governmental and global platforms and grids operating in cyberspace.
The following three qualities define what those toys must have to be considered part of the IoT:
- it must be aware; it must be able to sense and collect data about its surroundings,
- the data collected must be communicated to another device or central location automatically or when certain conditions are met.
- it must be actionable
Personal engagement activates the IoT and there is nothing more personal than your healthcare. Many things are already in place and other, more sophisticated applications are being developed rapidly.
- fitness tracking devices
- wearable, external devices, such as insulin pumps
- internally embedded devices such as pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillator devices
- miniaturized (within the body) sensors
- stationary devices, such as home-monitoring devices, IV pumps and fetal monitors
Within the next two years, there will be 80 million wearable health devices. The next generation of these devices — and that next generation is very near, may include these examples:
- a patient whose irregular heart rate triggers an alert to the cardiologist, who, in turn, can call the patient to seek care immediately
- a miniaturized, implanted device or skin patch that monitors a diabetic’s blood sugar, movement, skin temperature and more, and informs an insulin pump to adjust the dosage
- less patient-focused but invaluable to health care will be using the IoT to connect medical equipment, such as MRIs and CTs, to remotely monitor and maintain and to replenish supplies, reducing expensive downtime.
Family and personal care items already include and are improving on the following:
- Reviewing your calendar for the day (or week or month): The calendar on your phone remarkably syncs with your calendar at work, and appointments schedules on one device miraculously appear on the other. When traveling for out-of-town appointments, the calendar function syncs with your phone’s GPS, recognizes you are in a different time zone, and adjusts your calendar accordingly.
- Checking the weather by smart phone apps that identify your location, then report back aggregated data from the national weather service based on automated reporting from sensor devices at the nearest reporting hub.
- Updating your grocery order using technology to track inventory within a grocery warehouse, letting you know which items are out of stock and what alternative items can be ordered in their place. It also uses tracking and scheduling devices to coordinate delivery times. And it uses banking connectivity to pay for your order.
- Ordering and tracking the status and location of merchandise you purchased two days ago to make sure it will be delivered to its destination on time. The parcel service website uses tracking technology to identify the location of your package, and the truck that it is on, to provide up-to-date reporting on your package’s status and ETA.
And the financial side of your life just got much easier. Now you can use your smart phone to make deposits and also to:
- see a real-time, complete look into all of your finances, from bank accounts and credit cards to student loans and 401k
- automatically calculate your income and recurring bills, and then suggest what your daily, weekly, and monthly spending should be
- simply scan your receipts and automatically input all the details of your purchase
- track your spending, categorize it, and get alerts when/if you approach your budget limit
- save money that you didn’t even realize you had by automatically scanning your income and spending patterns, transferring a small amount of savings that it deems you won’t necessarily need in to a separate account that it manages.
And you will need that money to purchase your “smart” home. Finally becoming a reality, smart home applications include:
- Home monitoring
- Access control
- Lighting control
- Fire detection – Leak detection
- Energy efficiency
- Temperature monitoring and HVAC control
- Automated meter reading
- Family care
The smart home integrates all applications and the intelligence behind it. For example, the motion sensor used in the security system is integrated with the home’s light control and HVAC system to switch off the lights and the heating when nobody is in a room. The same motion sensor, when the home security system is on, can be used to send an alarm if someone breaks in and is moving throughout the house.
Smart doorbells are another example of a tightly integrated IoT solution, made even more amazing because of the low-tech nature of traditional doorbells. Today’s smart doorbells are equipped with cameras, microphone and 2-way audio. When someone rings the bell and you’re not home, you can receive an immediate alert on your phone, call up a camera hidden in our front door, see who’s there, and then initiate a conversation with them. How cool is that?
You can drive to and from home in your “smart” car. Many features to be built into the “car of the future” are already rolling down the highways with the following capabilities to:
- unlock/lock the car door with built in face recognition
- recognize and react to your face, head and body motions that you pre-set
- charge and synchronize your devices while in the vehicle
- use simultaneous location and mapping
- offer 360-degree awareness and support
- give distracted-driver support and
You drive on roadways that already utilize the IoT to:
- more effectively manage traffic through better incident awareness and more appropriate signaling
- with digitized toll collection, vehicle ID & mobility passes paid for using the same banking connectivity referred to earlier
Home and business monitoring and security systems already integrate well with security management platforms like those offered by IPVideo Corporation. Traffic signaling and intersection management, digitized toll collection, vehicle ID and mobility passes, incident detection, bridge monitoring and citywide video surveillance can and will be integrated as municipalities move to the future. Soon those same municipalities will be able to use IPVideo Corporation platforms to tie their emergency call centers and communication control room technologies into their surveillance and physical security management platforms. It’s not a big leap of imagination to see how these same platforms could integrate with the other IoT devices and systems currently under design. The possibilities are endless.
To learn more, register for the SIA’s free webinar entitled “The Takeover: How the Internet of Things (IoT) Impacts the Security Industry.