The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Another example of leveraging sensing

 

cosmic ray detection.jpgA few weeks back I had a post about the underwater use of the IoT, focused on a surprising use of an existing sensor pack. In a similar vein there is a project - CRAYFIS (Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones) – that is aimed at using the cameras in smartphones and tablets to detect the lower-energy particles that are produced when cosmic rays strike the Earth’s atmosphere. It could built a very large array of high quality sensors that would be financially impossible to create any other way. The data collected may be useful to study a number of important issues, like changes in the earth’s magnetic field.

 

I always find it interesting when a sensing pack is designed for one function, but once it is in place other uses are found. As the enterprise use of IoT expands these stories will be more commonplace, as well as stories of unintended consciences.

 

Labels: IoT| Mobile| Sensing| Sensors

Surprise results from the Internet of Underwater Things

shark.pngI’ve mentioned before that many times when you start gathering information with IoT techniques, the results may not always line up with what you originally intended. This article references a study showing evidence that it could be the Sleeper shark that is attacking juvenile Steller sea lions. They are basing the findings on sensing data coming off the tags of the young animals.

 

”We surmise that the sea lions were consumed by a cold-blooded predator because the recorded temperatures aligned with the deep waters of the Gulf of Alaska and not the surface waters.”

 

Based on the article, I doubt this was the original intent of the tagging effort, but once you start getting the data and correlating it with environmental knowledge you can derive quite useful results.

 

When we talk about the ‘things’ we can sense and derive data about, we need to keep our definitions wide.

Tags: IoT| Sensing
Labels: IoT| Sensing

Another Internet of Things Example of Something We Didn’t Know We Needed…

coffee.gifIEEE Spectrum had a post earlier this month about the Vessyl, a drinking cup with enough sensing to recognize the contents (at the molecular level). Sure it is expensive right now, but in technology it has only one way its price can go – down.

 

It is an example of the ideas discussed previously about what you can do when your IoT environment knows both the context of what is happening and your desires. For some people, it may seem like a bad thing to be told they are drinking too much caffeine or sugar, for others (with high blood pressure or diabetes) it can be an important part of sticking to their plan.

 

We are in a world of an ever increasing number of choices that can help us do what we want. The possibilities opening up around us, if we want to look for them. Cups are just the start...

Labels: Context| Future| IEEE| IoT| Sensing

IoT model update from the one I used 4 years back...

Back about four years ago, I used a model to think about machine-to-machine (M2) from a holistic perspective. Today, this would be viewed more through an Internet of Things (IoT) lens. In talking with some others last week, it seemed that the simple progressing from sensors all the way through action is still valid but may need to be expanded a bit.

Internet of things model.png

 

In really starts with the ‘thing’ that has been tagged (and its sensors and controllers). There is also a supporting device management layer that adds security, power management and other fleet management features. I didn't really show that the first time.

 

Data collection continues to have integration capabilities but the analytics layer needs to add more context and pattern recognition than just traditional analytics. There is an automation layer that rides on top that performs a number of the action oriented features.

 

I didn’t really think about the management layer that is inherent in the approach, even though some functions may only be useful for a subset of the environment. A pluggable set of standards is needed to minimize the complexity.

 

The Internet of Things will require a significant degree of autonomous control. It can’t be as needy as the tools we’re using today – crying out for our attention all the time.

 

Is it time for a Chief Automation Officer?

Automation officer.pngOver the last few years, there has been quite a bit of discussion about the race against the machines (or the race with the machines), based on the abundance of computing available. When I think about the IoT and its implications on business, it may be that information is just a side effect of an entirely different corporate strategic effort.

 

Maybe there is a need for a Chief Automation Officer more than a Chief Information Officer going forward?!? Someone who looks at the business implications and opportunities for cognitive computing, sensing, robotics and other automation techniques.

 

Or is automation just assumed to be part of all future strategic planning activities. As I began thinking about it, it’s clear that others have thought about this CAO role as well, although mostly from an IT perspective instead of one based on business need. It could be viewed that this is a role for the CTO or even the enterprise architect.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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