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Designing an IoT Device: Tradeoffs Abound, Many Ugly

4/4/2014 08:25 AM EDT
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Etmax
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
Etmax   4/5/2014 1:26:49 AM
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Sorry Bert, not really directed towards your comments, just a rambling on my part.

If I want to know if the milk's bad, one wiff will do it. The temperature offers little value I find milk good for 2-6 days past the used by date and that can be for 2 cartons bought on the same day with the same expiry date.

A fridge that tells me I'm out of milk tells me nothing I don't already know because I used it and what if I bought more fruit juice last week so there's a fruit juice in a milk slot?

I can't for the life of me figure out what I would want an internet connected fridge for (certainly not to browse the web), having a power meter tell me the power is out and therefore the fridge & freezer are off line maybe.

A toaster? well If I'm down the street when the toast is done I won't make it back in time to butter it.

I think control in plants is a good idea and having the power utilities all wired is great, but I just don't see many other actual useful uses for IoT.

Maybe I'm lacking imagination, but in a world where we need to reduce power consumption, adding an ethernet power hog to everything doesn't sound like a good idea.

Does anyone have a difinitive list of things that are going to be attached?

 

alex_m1
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
alex_m1   4/5/2014 10:41:40 AM
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Things that the IOT can offer(with consumer examples, since B2B usage is easier and abound):

1. Interfaces: remote , complex, beautiful, intuitive , more or better feedback. Example: a connected basketball, Offering internet connection color controlled illumination(the HUE) which seems to be accepted well among consumers.

2. Data: Gathering more data, combining data from multiple users, data mining, optimization. Some  sort of programmable cooking device that enables people to share cooking programs, Fitness and quantified self based devices that let's you optimize fitness exercises.

3. Predictive maintenence. Example: Might save money and offer less hassle on dryer repairs.

4. Sharing and payments. Enables shared usage models on devices. Examples: shared washing machine, zipcar, shared DIY equipment.

 

highlander_ns
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
highlander_ns   4/5/2014 2:27:36 PM
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I haven't read any vision of IoT that sounds exciting for the consumer. It sounds better for industrial uses but don't they already have sensors, networks, data, and analytical tools?

Bert22306
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
Bert22306   4/5/2014 6:54:53 PM
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It sounds better for industrial uses but don't they already have sensors, networks, data, and analytical tools?

Agreed, Highlander. It has been around in non-consumer venues for decades, even if not always in a pure Internet Protocol form (e.g. there's a long transitional phase of other industrial network protocols connecting to sensors and devices, then gateways tied together with IP). That's why I've never understood the hype.

Etmax
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
Etmax   4/6/2014 10:00:31 PM
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Hi Alex, thought provoking. My spin:

1. I'm worried about the weight impacting on expected performance/balance/spin. Basketballs have fairly low mass and are sensitive to such things. The illumination has got to require a sizeable battery and wireless transmission over the required distances too.

Etmax
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
Etmax   4/6/2014 10:15:46 PM
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Sorry pressed send too early:

2. Data gathering This is a boon to people wanting to sell something, but generally not to endusers. for cooking I see a tablet with a skype like program a better investment. Fitness we already have the ability to download the data to a PC. an IoT version will not have the battery life of current devices. Using an NFC connection to a mobile phone would make more sense and reduce battery size/consumption.

3. definitely worthwhile for some things, a car maybe, most household appliances have near zero maintenance. The only thing I have that might benefit is my coffee machine that already puts up a display to descale or whatever when I'm within reach of it and can actually perform the task. If I was away I wouldn't beable to do much with the message and I certainly wouldn't want it calling the serviceman to do a descale. I've repaired my dryer 4 times in the last 30 years, twice for a belt, once for a thermaostat and once for a broken switch. If it had an IoT board you could add 3 times to have a faulty logic board replaced if my dishwasher is anything to go by. Outside the home in mining etc. there would be a big call for it but that's the industrial arena where it'a already being done extensively.

4. This one is an interesting thought although I'm not sure it offers additional utility to existing methods.

5. I've added this one :-) vending machines would benefit but that's more an industrial/commercial use.

alex_m1
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
alex_m1   4/7/2014 10:29:41 AM
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@ETMax: IOT bsketballs are already being sold, by two companies.

alex_m1
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
alex_m1   4/7/2014 10:41:50 AM
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> for cooking

One guy that works on automation of cooking is a very famous product design expert(forgot his name). So it could be a great popular product. It's too early to tell how future kitchen will look.

> Fitness we already have the ability to download the data to a PC. an IoT version will not have the battery life of current devices.

People preferer that stuff done automatically - the data automatically downloaded to net, automatically analyzed, possibley with automatic relevant notifications. And as for the complexity of charging - there's wireless power. Just put the watch in intel's wireless power bowl.

> Predictive maintenence

You're lucky to have a dryer that lasts 30 years. Most  of the stuff sold is not very reliable. And most control boards are electronic.

 

Etmax
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
Etmax   4/8/2014 1:37:34 AM
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Thanks for your feedback, I'm interested in how it pans out. I'll be watching that space.


> Dryer

Yeah I'm an electronics design engineer so I buy things that are as unelectronic as possible :-) That's why they last so long. Amazing how reliable 2 bi-metal switches an electromechanical selector switch a polyurethane drive belt and an AC brushless motor can be.

I have a fridge that's 32 years old too where the traditional thermostat sensor tube leaked due to corrosion after 19 years only because it was assembled wrong in the plant. The new one I put in will out-live the compressor.

Our hotplate is electric with bimetal thermostats so after 12 years in this house it's still going.

Pity the Chinese don't know how to make oven elements or I wouldn't have had to change 2 in 12 years in our oven. Our old one made it to 30 years when we moved and was still going.

Most stuff I design has a 30-40 year lifespan but redesigning controllers for all the new products I buy is obviously not an option so low tech it is (where possible).

Yep they sure don't make stuff the way they used to.

Etmax
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Re: What do people think the IoT is, anyway?
Etmax   4/8/2014 1:40:39 AM
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Well I never. :-) I'll have to take some measurements to see what impact if any there is.

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