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This week, we’re asking folks in the tech world about a great shift, from an Internet of webpages toward an Internet of interconnected objects: the Internet of Things.
A D.C. area company called SmartThings sells kits that let you rig all sorts of stuff around the house up to smartphones and tablet computers — sump pumps, jewelry drawers, you name it. SmartThing’s CEO Alex Hawkinson says the inspiration came from a rustic mountain cabin, a deep freeze, and burst pipes.
“Everything thawed out and started rotting and we didn’t discover it until quite a time later, and it drove us crazy that we didn’t know that that had happened. So we started the company on the basis of, you know, how do we take the available bandwidth that’s in the air — your iPhone’s connected, your Kindle’s connected — and make it possible for simple sensors to connect up so you could see an event like that from anywhere,” says Hawkinson.
Hawkinson says the hook-up allows you to make everyday, “dumb” objects suddenly intelligent. And what happens when more and more objects get connected? Imagine a sprinkler that doesn’t go off when it rains, a water pump that monitors its own leaks, a car that “talks” to the road.
“We think this is the third epoch of the web, we call it the ‘physical graph’,” says Hawkinson. “It crosses all the parts of our life. The implications range from security, to efficiency — we think 30+ percent of the energy use in the world is wasted based on lack of intelligence.”
To hear about other ways the Internet of connected things could change your everyday life, click on the audio player above.