What To Watch Out For When Devices Are Getting Smarter

April 27, 2018 in Cultivate, tools

From smartphones to smart appliances, everything around is getting smarter today with every manufacturer trying to breathe ‘smartness’ into their devices and appliances. Smart devices readily satisfy the expectations of the users and have enhanced the quality of life besides helping the users get the most out of their devices in an economic way. However, you must watch out for a few things when you invest in a smarter technology so that you get the best out of them as well as do not feel being lost in any way.

Smart devices

What does the company do with the metadata gathered?

The smart devices are configured to track everything that the user does. Companies are gathering a lot of information by noting the user behavior. Most of the data gathered thus goes online. Hence you must ensure that there is no threat to your privacy and security.

Will the maker of a device stay in future?

Do not buy from very young start-ups. The software development connected to the production of IoT devices make them very expensive. It is common to see most of the device makers go out of the business sooner than you might imagine. If this happens, the devices can also go useless. It is also very difficult to replace these devices. Explore whether these companies are funded well and whether they are committed to assuring a satisfying customer service.

Usability and standards

Reflect on factors such as whether you will need an internet connection to use the product or if the product is compliant with the established standards. This can make a huge difference in whether you are going to use the device only for a few months or years. If you can use the product offline too, it can be a green signal to go for it. Similarly, go for products that you can use without an account or internet.

Despite all these concerns, most of these smart devices can help improve the quality of your life and Hence a proper research must be able to get you going well with most of them.

The Business Potential of Smart-Home Tech for Older Adults

December 24, 2017 in Cultivate, IoT, Startups, Stem

Have you ever thought how the smart-home gadgets that the millennials find to be trendy, fun, and nerdy could help the older adults in making their lives easier when they need physical and mental support? Just imagine how a voice-controlled fan switch can be helpful to a septuagenarian who is suffering from arthritis. Or an automatic sensor that could call in for help if a person has difficulty in getting out of bed.

Similarly, there are many other devices and gadgets that are particularly developed and manufactured to assist older adults. But is there a business potential and market available?

The market

Of course, these gadgets and smart-home tech can’t provide financial means, but if you can afford them, living alone at a later stage in your life will not be harsh or cruel. Some reports have even suggested that a few big retailers have started a separate unit where they sell these types of tools, tech, and gadgets, and reportedly there is a good market among the seniors.

Undoubtedly, there are many complexities and difficulties that seniors still encounter while interacting with these devices, and there is a lot of user-based testing and feedback that needs to be generated, but as these devices penetrate the market, the chances of them getting better and better increase.

Apart from the application of seniors that want to stay alone, there is a market for young adults as they want to learn these devices to take better care of their aging parents.

What are the barriers?

The biggest barrier associated with this industry is the high cost of these gadgets and devices. Further, there are too many options available in the market and customers are confused about the choice—though they feel spoilt by the availability, it often becomes overwhelming. Further, the possibility of a security breach through these devices is another threat that any senior or household will feel, and therefore, becomes a major constraint for the sales.

Understanding the Working of an IoT System (in non-technical terms)

December 9, 2017 in IoT, tools

If you look at the definition of an IoT system on the internet, chances are you will be left confused because of the complexity of words and interrelations used in the explanation. For a non-technical user, it is getting intriguingly confusing to understand and IoT system because otherwise, these devices are making their way in the market nicely, and are being accepted warmly–getting to know their functionality will help in their optimal use.

Here’s a simple explanation:

There are four components of an IoT system, namely: sensors (also called devices), connectivity, data processing, and a user interface. Let’s understand each of them separately.

    Sensors

Sensors are the essential components because they collect the data in which an IoT system is operating. Consider your smartphones—they have multiple sensors including a camera, GPS, an accelerometer, etc.

    Connectivity

Connectivity is the process which sends the data to the cloud system. Whatever method is employed (differs for different IoT devices) for connectivity, the objective is to get the data to the cloud. It could be through Bluetooth, Wifi, Satellite, Cellular or even Ethernet that connects to the internet.

    Data processing

Data processing is the phase where data collected on the cloud is processed by software. It could simply be a reading of the temperature of your city or face-recognition for safety measures.

    User interface

The user interface is the application through which all the data processing is worked upon to be useful for human users. Based on the data, it could send a notification or an email or a simple text message. Based on the IoT device type, there could be an action required by the human user or it could be performed automatically by the device. With some predefined functions, the IoT device could do the desired tasks automatically or a user might require some mobile apps to perform them manually.