Qualcomm’s AllSeen Alliance Unifies Internet Of Things

The power of the internet of things is that these objects can talk to each other. In the connected home, your lightbulbs turn off because they are aware that the door has shut or your oven just received a cooking instructions from a recipe you saw on TV. The power is in the connectivity which has long been a promise of the future of the home, albeit a mostly unrealized one.

Enter the AllSeen Alliance. The consortium, spearheaded by Qualcomm, aims to create an open framework that lets device communicate to one another. The beauty of the Alliance is that it is device agnostic and works across various forms of communication, whether they be bluetooth, NFC, wifi or Zigbee. With a large player like Qualcomm in the mix, expect some serious advancements in the connected home space in the coming year.   

Connected Home Fuels Anticipatory Computing

SmartThings, a developer of software and hardware powering the Connected Home, released some surprising data points based on their network of 10,000 users. According to the startup, those active homes generate 150 million data points a day. Currently, those data points are being used to inform the smart home devices, but imagine a world where that data could inform auxiliary products and services. This would create a world of anticipatory computing, where your lights dim when you start Netflix or your oven logs all the recipes you’ve seen on TV.        

Anticipatory Computing Meet Advertising

Wearable computing is no doubt on the rise with a host of health devices, home appliances and that respond to your behavior and environment. Traditional banners and display won’t do in these new categories, but there is an opportunity for predictive recommendations. For instance, your washing machine knows its low on detergent and recommends Tide, or your fridge suggests a Betty Crocker recipe based on its contents. Just look at Nest, Fitbit or LG’s smart appliances for proof that this trend is not so far on the horizon.  

Gecko Makes Your Smartphone Smarter

In another big development on the “Internet-of-Things” front, startup Gecko purports to “make your smartphone smarter.” The idea is that the device – a quarter-sized square – connects to your smartphone via low-energy Bluetooth to help monitor the things to which the Gecko is adjoined. The idea is that you tag items you’d like to monitor with Bluetooth, and based on accelerometers and gesture controls, the smartphone acts as a universal control. The device itself comes with a year’s worth of battery life, as well as a buzzer and LED light for alerts. Tag your front door for alerts about when it’s opened or closed; tag a box of pills to keep track of when you take your medication; tag your pet so you know how far it’s gone. It’s a powerful pairing, if it leaves its current Indiegogo funding phase. 

Revolv Controls Your Home

Revolv is making the sci-fi fantasy of home control a reality. The product, only for Apple products thus far, links your whole house to your smartphone or tablet, and allows total control over its systems. It works with most thermostats, wireless lighting systems, automated locks, and entertainment systems, while also incorporating a GPS triggering functionality. So if you want to be energy effecient and leave your air conditioner off all day but still want it set for 73 degrees when you get home, it’s easy to set up a GPS trigger. A one-time fee of $299 gets you a Wi-Fi hub and access to Revolv’s cloud service, and users can manually control what the device controls. The ultimate goal is to bring total home Internet-based control under one device’s control. 

Douwe Egberts Coffee Creates Yawn-Activated Vending Machine

Coffee Company, Douwe Egberts has gotten some press around their “Bye Bye Red Eye” campaign which places smart coffee machines in airports that dispense a free cup of coffee when travelers yawn.  The vending machine employs facial coding technology which identifies yawns and other facial gestures to create a fun campaign that remedies tiredness. Tech like this can be used to trigger media and real world actions based on a variety of emotions using webcam software. While they have only served 210 passengers so far, this is more of a PR stunt for the Dutch coffee producer.

Fliike Is Your Real-World “Like” Counter

French startup Smiirl has created the Fliike, a design-oriented display of a simple metric of increasing importance to small business owners: their Facebook likes.  The Fliike is meant to be displayed in a storefront to bridge the gap between a business’ physical and virtual presences.  The Internet of Things is hardly a new concept, but Smiirl’s delivery of it in such an elegant package could redirect the Internet of Things movement towards simple, single-data-point-driven devices providing the link between the digital and physical worlds.

A Twitter Powered Paintball Gun? Why Not!

Creative shop iStrategyLabs is helping move the internet of things from a buzzword to a reality, launching “social machines” which allows real world objects respond to social actions like tweets. They’ve worked on a GE fridge that unlocks when a group checks in on Foursquare and recently launched a paintball gun that shoots when you Tweet. Oh, the power of Arduino…  

Joining The Dots

I think sometimes we look at things in a lens that is too focused.

For many years we’ve looked and laughed at internet enabled fridges and tweeting plants but to make sense future thinking people have  taken a step back and had the imagination to see the whole ecosystem of the connected home, a world where you can turn on your cooker from work, or check to see if you have left the garage door closed.

But I still think these use cases are rather pathetic, relatively fringe and certainly not providing enough value to make the $15k investment in an entirely connected home worthwhile.

But when you really take a step back, where you vision includes things that seem rather peripheral,  you can begin then to  join a lot of things together that show how amazing things could happen.

I don’t think we are far from a world where the world of advertising starts becoming less the use of creativity to get brands and consumers to connect and engage, but a world where creativity is used to allow brands to provide value to consumers. The process of agencies like the IPG Media lab will be to have the imagination but also the knowledge of fringe technology to join the dots together and to do so in the context of business and brands.

We are talking of a world of both creative business models and branded utility.

I think in less than 3 years a connected home will include a fridge that knows what products we like, what food we have, when it is about to turn bad, where we are going to be that week, who we may expect to have come and visit.

This may seem rather out there, but it’s a simple question of taking in some of the utility that apps like “Slice” provide now, advancing it a little, and then pulling data from your google calendar, location and other sources to help suggest solutions, or as we like to call it, the world of “anticipatory computing

In a world like this, an online grocery company could subsidize the cost of your fridge by ensuring that it will only be able to order goods from their own site.

You may find that you never run out of milk because it’s ordered before it’s about to go bad or run out.

You may find ads for food products that sync with your fridge and tell you what else you need to order to make a suggested recipe and order it for you.

This is world far removed from the now, but not because the technology is so advanced, but because our attitude towards “advertising” shifts away from technology as an enabler of better brand messaging, but technology as an enabler of better brand solutions.

Interactive Billboard Gives Away Shirts For Tweets

The internet of things is everywhere from connected fridges to tweeting plants. To see an example of a brand capitalizing on the trend, take a look at Allen Solly’s recent campaign that uses an interactive billboard to give away dress shirts for tweeting at the brand. Leveraging Tweeple, users that hashtag rainingsolly will inch forward one of the many shirts on a vending machine-like board until it drops.