Internet of Things News

Digging around for Internet of Things (IoT) news today I found a detailed article about how ITN International is applying Near Field Communicatation (NFC) to conference services. The article from the RFID Journal gives an overview of all the tools the company is currently using under the theme of: ‘Touch ‘N Go solutions.’

In the article ITN International says that: “ has seen its business increase by 20 percent annually over the past two years, and that it has serviced more than 500 events to date with the BCard NFC-based solution. ITN can distribute as many as 3,000 phones (1,800 from Nokia, the remainder constituting a variety of Windows mobile devices), each equipped with an NFC reader.”

Elsewhere in IoT the current theme is more about opinion, analysis and new directions rather then product announcements. Enclosed below are the 5 most interesting excerpts I found in this regard.

IoT as Relates to System/object personas

Interaction designers are used to using personas (research based user archetypes) to describe the types of people that will use the thing they’re designing – their background, their needs and the like but I’m not sure if we’ve ever really explored the use of personas or character documentation to describe the product themselves. What does the object want? How does it feel about it? If it can sense its location and conditions how could that affect its behaviour? This kind of thing could be incredibly powerful and would allow us to develop principles for creating the finer details of the object’s behaviour.

Russell M Davies: On ubiquitous computing

…We aren’t going to get a world full of objects with identities and connectivity until they’re bubbling up from China and we’re buying them from pound shops and motorway service stations. Not designed by anyone who’s ever read a design magazine, but lumped together in a factory with a bunch of other recently cheap technologies, connected to a free, public datastream and branded with a cheaper-than-Disney global animation property. …It won’t be the grey economy, more the nasty yellow plastic economy — the world of dodgy traders and Derek Trotters. It will be RodneyComp. And there’ll be me, sitting in this café, wondering how they’ll top this unicorn/fairy thing. I can’t wait.

Health sensors improving but not yet elegant

It’s time for a reality check in mobile and wireless home health, specifically in the area of body sensors. And this bit of buzzkill comes from someone at the forefront of the field, namely Dr. Joseph Kvedar, director of the Center for Connected Health at Partners HealthCare System in Boston. …“The state of the art today is not so elegant,” Kvedar says. “We use multiple different sensors, both wired and wireless, communicating via a large variety of aggregator devices that then transmit the sensor outputs to us via the Internet. The environment is both user-unfriendly and error prone, which increases the technical support resources required. We have the strong sense that some individuals drop out of programs because the technology is too challenging for them, so we miss them before we can turn them on to the benefits of a connected health experience.”

Build a better wireless network — with fruit flies

The tiny, hairlike tentacles that line the fruit fly’s nervous system act as sensing devices. This sensing system is organized in such a way that just a few “leader” hairs communicate with every other hair cell, giving the insect a quick big picture of the world without having to know where each individual hair is located. Taking the lead from this insect system, scientists have developed an algorithm that could be used to improve the communication between swarms of robots and other wireless networks. For example, lots of tiny sensors could be dropped from an airplane or helicopter to monitor environmental hazards such as volcanic eruptions. “There is no initial knowledge of how they are scattered around and so they need to initially establish some backbone for a network, which is what our algorithm does,” said Ziv Bar-Joseph, associate professor of machine learning and computational biology at Carnegie Mellon University.

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