What's Next
for the Internet of Things?

 

In this third and final article exploring the future of mobile technology, journalist David Phelan gives us a glimpse into the exciting new frontier known as the Internet of Things. Discover his thoughts on what amazing developments we can expect.

The Internet of Things is one of those phrases that, the more you say it, the less you really know what it means. Really, it's just shorthand for the way gadgets talk to each other. The gadgets' meaning of the internet isn't the same as ours - they won't be comparing comical pictures of cats all day long. I hope.

Samsung Galaxy

No, the Internet of Things (IoT) is where phones, computers, smart watches, even washing machines communicate without us having to be involved. So we can use a smartphone app to tell the standard lamp in the living room to switch on, handy if you're away on holiday. Some features are familiar - like setting the TV set-top box to record from your mobile - but things are likely to evolve out of all recognition.

Future now

It's already changing: fitness monitors gather information about our movements, vending machines notify HQ when chocolate bars are running low and the latest home ovens can be monitored and even controlled from a tablet or phone (such as Samsung's Chef Collection Oven). Bluetooth-enabled thermometers shaped like sticking plasters can be stuck to a poorly infant and send an alert directly to a doctor when the temperature changes significantly. Much better than repeatedly waking the baby up with a regular thermometer.

Blank canvas

For electronics companies, the key element when building their gadgets is predicting what will be needed. There's little point in that fitness tracker if it uses Bluetooth, but your phone doesn't have it, too. So it's crucial that tech is designed as a blank canvas that is ready for the future. An infra-red blaster means your phone can communicate with a TV. Faster wi-fi speeds up the control your phone can exert on your home, quickly becoming the command centre in your pocket. And 4G means that home control can be managed from wherever you are, not just a wi-fi hotspot.

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It's crucial that tech is designed as a blank canvas...ready for the future.

Only connect

The more you want to do, the more you need the right connections. So when you're out your phone can check the contents of your connected fridge, in case there's food you need to buy. More objects will be fitted with sensors that talk to each other. Maybe that fitness monitor you're wearing as you jog is doing more than just calculating your calories. The gadget's GPS will tell your shower when you're nearly home from your run. It will turn on the water so it reaches the optimum temperature as you step into it. And it'll warm the towel rail, too.

As sensors develop, their power demands reduce, as happened with the arrival of Bluetooth Low Energy. This means that many more notifications can be sent, allowing for increasingly sophisticated, in-depth communications. Some people will even implant sensors into their bodies - imagine never losing your Oyster card. If that sounds scary, don't worry, it's more likely that our phones will be the only thing we need, working as identification devices, digital wallets and, oh yes, a way to make phone calls. One thing's for sure: just as the internet changed our perception of the world, so the Internet of Things will be radical and all-encompassing. Feel you deserve a post-jog snack? Probably your phone is already checking the chocolate bar stocks at local vending machines...

Samsung in 2015

To find out what's next for Samsung and for your chance to win #TheNextGalaxy, visit samsung.com/uk/unpacked at 5.30pm(GMT) on the 1st March and watch the Galaxy Unpacked 2015 live stream.

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