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Working on the Internet of Things (IoT)

February 6, 2015
Hel The Learning Thermostat - Like HAL

Image by Mike Walton

On Monday night, my attempted humor about the Tom Brady cold peaking on Monday for millions of Pats fans was not funny at all. In addition to raging “flu-like symptoms,” I experienced “the chills” for the first time. Not fun. The good news was that my home thermostat is a ‘thing” in the internet of um, things, so I was able to jack up the temperature right from my phone while dying in bed. The bad news was that hot air wasn’t enough, and until my son’s electric blankey was transported upstairs by a “human of things,” my daughter, I was teeth chattering cold.

The convenience of the Nest thermostat got me thinking about this whole “Internet of Things” (IoT) thing. OK, so what is it? I like this definition:

“Internet of Things” means devices that can sense aspects of the real world — like temperature, lighting, the presence or absence of people or objects, etc. — and report that real-world data, or act on it. Instead of most data on the Internet being produced and consumed by people (text, audio, video), more and more information would be produced and consumed by machines, communicating between themselves to (hopefully) improve the quality of our lives.

Here are some very cool IoT examples, and while I’m pretty excited about the possibilities, there’s definitely a creepy factor (is my Nest watching me?) and security concerns, but in my opinion, the potential benefits outweigh the risks, and risks have to be mitigated.

So what about IoT for the workforce? How’s that going to um, work? In this Forbes article, Jacob Morgan wonders, “What if the wearable device you used in the workplace could tell you when and where you were most active and productive and shared that information with other devices that you used while working?”

That question has both fascinating and terrifying implications for the future. How do you think the “Internet of Things” could impact your life and work life?

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