The Internet Connectivity of Home Appliances

The “internet of things” that was predicted by movies, researchers and business entities could soon be with us – household objects going online and communicating with each other and people, machine to machine communication is here to stay. Even the potted plant wants to get in on the action.

Parrot, a global leader in wireless devices for mobile phones, stands on the cutting edge of innovation, has invented a gadget that uses a Bluetooth smart low energy plant sensor. According to Peter George ‘what it does is that it senses four different areas within a garden either indoors or outdoors, it would sense sunlight, temperature, moisture in the soil as well as fertilizer in the soil; and it will take a reading of those four sensors in every 15 minutes and it will send by Bluetooth low energy back to your smart device.  In the near future, farmers can use the technology to threat cases affecting Photosynthesis.              

How do we know that the invention will be part of our lives?

The idea of bridging the gap in the near future between human and appliances can be found with smart phones. For instance the light bulb can now be controlled in the comfort of your arm chair. The gadget IS known as the Bluetooth light bulb. According to Mark Powell, the Executive Director Bluetooth SIG, a global trade association with over 18,000 member companies “The bulb is great because there are billions of smart phone out there with Bluetooth built-in that are capable of controlling the light bulb; you can have multiple light bulbs in your house and multiple users of the light bulb and they can all be controlled from their phone”

Is Bluetooth the only communication method that gadgets can use? Z-wave technology can blanket an entire home with radio frequency signals. According to Bill Scheffler of the Z-Wave alliance, a consortium of over 200 leading manufacturers and service providers worldwide that are dedicated to interoperable wireless home control products based on the Z-Wave open standard, one of the key enabling technology driving the ‘Internet of Things’ has this to say “The ability to control light appliances, locks and basically anything you would normally handled in your home can be controlled by Z-Wave” He further reiterated that ‘the technology can be very strong because it is a mesh network and the more devices you have at home, the stronger the mesh.” The Z-Wave is an improvement of the older X-10 system in the areas of Instant responsiveness, better control reliability, and a wider range of device types to handle more applications. The drawback of the Z-Wave is that its gadgets are not internationally compactable because the RF frequency used by the system defers around the world.

That is one the reasons why a WIFI route might be a better option according to the thinking of Belkin International, they have developed a light system including a power socket that can be manipulated remotely to turn on or off any electronic devices plugged into it. There is also a baby monitor that can be heard anywhere when connected. According to Jamie Elgie of the Belkin International, “the user experience of the WIFI is really simple when you hook the device to the network and it is ready to use. You don’t have to do anything more or install any other bridge product, we just plug our product in and two minutes later you are in on the internet and on your home network.

But with all this WIFI in your house, you might start to worry about bandwidth? Don’t worry, says Matt Rogers the co-creator of NEST Learning Thermostat. “Most of these networks do not use much bandwidth they communicate less frequently and if you can stream videos, you can use them at home”

The question is if the house network can easily have all this extra data traffic without problems? What happens if your network goes down completely? Or maybe controlling your gadgets from afar suddenly seems less appealing?

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