Can the appliances in your kitchen serve as your personal nutritionist? Not now, but soon, say experts. From your refrigerator to your car to your home thermostat, different appliances and objects are getting smarter and connecting to the Internet and each other -- and this is starting to change the way families across the country are living.
If you’ve heard of the “Internet of Things (IoT)” -- you know it’s the concept of connecting physical objects to the Internet and each other. While you may already own a few objects enabled by IoT, you can expect this technology to further permeate your life in the future, especially at home.
Thanks to consumer demand, smart home offerings are expanding rapidly -- from smart refrigerators to smart entertainment systems to smart HVAC systems. In celebration of IoT Day, which was hosted on April 9th, experts at the cutting edge of technology agree that IoT has the potential to completely revolutionize how we interact with appliances and even each other.
In the kitchen for example, “You’ll be able to receive alerts that products for day-to-day use are running out and need replacing. You’ll be able to remotely consult your refrigerator or pantry from your phone, tablet or computer,” says Arthur Ziviani, Senior Member of IEEE, and senior researcher at the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing. IEEE is the world’s largest professional organization advancing technology for humanity.
One step further, Dr. Yu Yuan, IEEE Senior Member and founder of CATE Global and CEO of Motiveware Technology predicts, “an intelligent machine or robot will soon take over the kitchen as cook, servant and nutritionist.”
Yuan is hopeful such changes will make the operation of household appliances easier and more convenient. IEEE experts warn, however, that while all of this is exciting, in order for IoT to reach its full potential, a single communications standard will be needed so that products from different companies can communicate with each other.
“If I buy one system, it may not work or synchronize with another system. I could be locked into one system, and that’s a big issue,” says William Webb, IEEE Fellow and head of consulting at Affini and CEO of Weightless SIG.
Another concern for the growing smart home industry is security, and the risks are pervasive. A recent “Hackathon” hosted by MIT invited hackers to find security holes of smart home technology. The event reinforced this danger.
“There are security concerns in all smart technology. There are security concerns in a smart trash can. Someone could hack in and see that there’s been no trash disposed of in the past few days. They can assume you’re not home and break in,” says Webb.
While there are still barriers to the widespread adoption of IoT, experts are hopeful that smart home technology will one day soon become fully integrated, improving the way we live.