Custom Retailer IPIQ : The Internet of Things
Improve the collective knowledge of the industry by educating yourself
This article recently appeared in Custom Retailer Magazine in April 2012 and was written by Michael Maniscalco, VP of Technology for ihiji.
One can’t help but notice the growth of network-connected systems influencing our industry. A popular example is the Nest Thermostat. While it is an innovative new product that many consider to be a DIY solution, it is also one that a surprising number of integrators are embracing.
Consumers are taking notice, and just yesterday an entrepreneur in Austin came to me asking, “Hey Mike , have you heard of these new temperature sensors from IBM that they use in data centers to allow them to monitor the temperature of individual servers and the environment around them? They’re only a few dollars a piece and I think they’d be great for home brewing. What are your thoughts?”
Now, that’s something I can really appreciate because I not only love a good craft beer, but also because much of my time is spent researching ways that sensors and intelligent equipment affects our industry and our lives, now and in the future.
The technology we’re talking about here is pretty incredible. Five years ago, a thermostat that could be adjusted easily and remotely without having an expensive control system didn’t exist, and an expansive home network was considered cutting edge. Then came networked control processors, and within a year, networked touch panels were abundant.
Next, we saw media servers, networked TVs, Blu-ray players, and now, even your steak can be Wi-Fi-enabled with an iPhone app. Funny as that last example may seem, it was mentioned at a recent CEDIA Discovery Advisory Group meeting as a means to illustrate the abundance of connected devices in the consumer electronics world.
The Technology Pavilion at CEDIA shows us what is coming, and at last year’s event, there was an entire home full of connected appliances and technologies that are clearly going to become ours to install, maintain and support. The Pavilion provides us all a glimpse at new sources of business opportunities and revenues. Based on what was shown in September, it is clear that connectivity will continue to accelerate and drive our businesses. You probably get where I’m going with this. The Internet and these network-enabled devices are taking over everything. They’ll be tracking you and you’ll be tracking down your connected keys from your shiny new iPhone app. to you though?
What Does It All Mean?
It means that it is time to take networking seriously, as this knowledge is now a baseline requirement at every stage of a project, including design, engineering, pre-wire, trim, final and into service. Each member of your technical staff, including your technicians and engineers, must have the proper training. Without it, you endanger the quality of the delivered product and ultimately jeopardize the client experience. Therefore, it is critical that technicians have the right training and tools to troubleshoot and repair the potential problems they will encounter in the field, doing the job right from the start.
Thanks to Custom Retailer Magazine for permission to use this article.