Revolutionary Measures

The Internet of Things in your trousers

Trousers

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve written a lot about how the internet and social media are changing the boundaries between private and public in the virtual world, and new developments look set to take this into the physical world as well.

Most futurologists agree that we’re heading towards a world of smart, connected devices that all communicate using the internet to keep in contact, update each other and help make our lives easier. The oft-touted example (I remember using it nearly a decade ago) is a drinks machine that automatically sends a message when it is running out of particular flavours.

There are hundreds of applications for this Internet of Things (or IoT) for short, which is being driven by a broad range of companies, including Cambridge-based Neul, founded by some of the original brains behind Cambridge Silicon Radio. Remote monitoring for healthcare, helping find a parking space or being able to track how many people are in a building all deliver benefits. But what happens when chips embedded in everyday objects start communicating at other times? There are already scales that will tweet your weight to the world, so imagine taking that a step further and your coat or jeans telling the world where it is, along with your inside leg measurement.

While it sounds far-fetched, privacy is something that people do guard jealously – and even if they don’t regulators such as the EU will be monitoring on their behalf. Simply providing opt-outs isn’t enough as they are often fiddly to find and amend, which means many people don’t bother changing them. So if the Internet of Things isn’t going to become a front page Daily Mail story on Big Brother surveillance, now is the time to put in place the safeguards to prevent rogue tweeting by trousers or even emailing by your Edam.

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September 23, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. […] we’ll always need electricity to recharge them. Mobile devices, combined with sensors and the Internet of Things provide the ability to monitor and adjust how we use power. From turning smart thermostats up or […]

    Pingback by Smartphones will eat the world « Revolutionary Measures | September 24, 2014 | Reply

  2. […] The Internet of Things (IoT) has been identified by many commentators as a key emerging market – and one where Cambridge has the ecosystem, experience and ideas to play a major role. So the news that IoT pioneer Neul has been sold to Chinese telecoms equipment behemoth Huawei depressed me. Not for nationalistic reasons, but simply due to the low reported purchase price ($25m) and the fact that the company has cashed out so early in the growth process. While there was a fair amount of PR spin around Neul’s progress to date, I genuinely believed it could join the billion dollar Cambridge club by developing its technology and building alliances and routes to market. […]

    Pingback by Selling out too early « Revolutionary Measures | October 1, 2014 | Reply

  3. […] see this lasting for ever, particularly as the whizzier the processor the quicker batteries drain. The Internet of Things (IoT) will require chips with everything, but size and power constraints, and the fact that the majority […]

    Pingback by Moore’s Law – will it make 60? « Revolutionary Measures | April 22, 2015 | Reply

  4. […] see this lasting for ever, particularly as the whizzier the processor the quicker batteries drain. The Internet of Things (IoT) will require chips with everything, but size and power constraints, and the fact that the majority […]

    Pingback by Moore’s Law – Will It Make 60? | Connected Cambridge | May 4, 2015 | Reply


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