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News : The Internet of Things: The next level of unified communications

The Internet of Things: The next level of unified communications

Here at Silver Lining, we pride ourselves on our “converged” solutions ­ combining IT, telecoms and data technologies to create a seamless “mesh” of communication across devices and locations. This is all well and good, but there’s a new way of looking at connected technology that’s making our idea of “unified communications” look outdated by comparison.

The traditional connected world is about “devices” ­ things with screens, handsets and buttons, tangible gadgets we can tinker with. Now imagine a world where instead of these devices just communicating with each other, they act as an interface between you and the world around you ­ turning ordinary household objects into connected technology and enhancing your quality of life. We’ve already seen our televisions becoming “smart”, and this idea has nowhere to go but up. This is the Internet of Things.

Imagine, if you will, a “smart” kitchen. Maybe you look up a recipe on your iPad, and it wirelessly sends the cooking time and temperature to your smart oven. Your smart fridge detects you’re running low on certain items, and can place an order online to get these delivered right to your door. If your smart microwave malfunctions, it can send a report straight to the manufacturer for a speedy resolution. You can see the status of all these things directly from your touchscreen.

These are just a few examples, some of which already exist, of a “connected” household and the benefits it could have in our daily lives. The applications of a connected world are myriad, from simple streamlining of everyday tasks, to sensor-assisted safety measures, to cloud-powered data collection on a global scale.

The real game-changer of the Internet of Things isn’t the communication between devices and objects, but intelligent application of sensors. What is a sensor? A connected piece of technology that can sense the “state” of something and feed that data back to a more capable device. The smart fridge sensing its contents and reporting that information is a good example, but there are myriad others. Road sensors could report dangerous road conditions to connected cars, allowing them to adjust speed and traction accordingly. Structural sensors could provide information on building safety and stability. Retail sensors could track customers’ browsing and purchasing habits to offer them targeted promotions. The possibilities really are endless.

We at Silver Lining believe that just as converged communications have gotten us where we are today, a connected world will usher in a truly “smart” future. We’ll be keeping a watchful eye on developments within the Internet of Things in the coming years...

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