Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Have you ever heard of a man named Tony Fadell? Yeah, me neither. Well, I’m happy to report that
Tony is doing just fine. In fact, he is doing finer than anyone else I know at the moment. You see, Tony left Apple where he was VP of design over the iPod division. In fact, he was one of the “fathers” of the iPod. This silly man quit his job at Apple to design, get this. home thermostats. THERMOSTATS! What a maroon, huh?

Well, someone at Google didn’t think Tony was a moron. In fact, they thought he was pretty darn smart. So smart that they purchased Tony’s company, Nest, for three point two BILLION dang dollars in cash! That’s a “B” with a “golly!” in it.

Turns out that Google has been looking into a burgeoning industry that has been expected to explode just any day now. This industry is called the “Internet of Things.” No, it’s not a bunch of little monsters crawling around the internet scaring humans--not yet, anyway. No, the Internet of Things is a world where virtually everything communicates with everything else in some way. Your refrigerator will send you a text when it needs more milk. Your washing machine will speak to your dryer which will speak to your water heater which will speak to your solar array. Your car will talk to your phone and, of course, you’ll have a close relationship with your thermostat.

Tony’s thermostat is connected to your wireless router in your home that is, of course, connected to
the internet. Here is where it gets just a bit creepy if your wardrobe includes tinfoil hats: Google computers will check both the weather forecast and the family calendars and will know when you are going to be home. Since your phone has GPS and is connected to Google, Google knows when you leave the office so can turn the heat up just in time for you to walk in to a warm house.

The "Internet of things" will enable you to not only control appliances through a computer or smart phone (person to appliance) and to automate them (computer to appliance), but also to enable appliances to connect to one another (appliance to appliance). For example, when you turn off your alarm clock in the morning, your alarm clock could tell the light to go on and the coffee machine to start brewing. When the lights go off at night, they might tell the door locks to lock. This kind of automation is currently possible but controlled from a central computer. This stuff is usually installed by a professional. It's complicated and expensive. The "Internet of things" revolution should make these things simple, easy and inexpensive. And perhaps just a bit creepy.

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