‘The Internet of Things’, what is that? You’ve probably heard the term, or at the very least you’ve heard about the concept whether you realize it or not. Basically, it means that everything in the home is connected to the home network, and in most cases the internet – a ‘connected home’.
In another post, we discussed how products in the home integrate. IP integration is the most popular form of integration. That means that devices or products in the home are communicating to one another over the home network. That seems obvious in today’s connected world, but we’re a lot further behind than you probably think.
Most the electronics in you home, assuming you purchased them in the last 3 years, have an ethernet port to connect to the internet. But, just because something lives on your network, doesn’t mean you can communicate to it. Sony for example, just started shipping IP enabled 4K TV’s for the first time. Previously to that, your Sony TV could connect to the internet, but you couldn’t control it or communicate with it over the internet.
The idea behind the Internet of things, is that anything electronic in your home will live on the network, and have the ability to communicate, integrate or interact with the other devices in the home that are also on the network. You might be thinking how far is this going to go, and how far out are we? Well, pretty much anything in the home with an on off switch will live on the network in the future. A refrigerator that lives on the network, can easily send you a message telling you what food you’re missing for tonights dinner. You’re washer and dryer can tell you when loads are finished. And, we’re already pre-wiring homes for this in Salt Lake City.
A home network, is sort of like a neighborhood. Everything in the home that is connected to the network gets it’s own address. We call this an IP address. The IP address, allows us to find the device on the network, and send and receive commands to it easily. In year’s past, if you wanted to electronic devices to talk to each other, you had to hardwire them together. This worked, but it made it difficult to change or expand your system over time. As the ‘Internet of Things’ evolves, everything will have the ability to live on your home network. Once it’s on the network and assigned an IP address, you’ll be able to use your smart home system to control it. This will make it so much easier to change or expand your smart home in years to come.
People often ask how far out the Internet of Things is. Well it’s already here in some variety. The question is more how will it evolve, and what kind of timeline are we on until all homes are fully connected smart homes. You probably remember the old ‘Back To The Future’ movie, where Marty walks home from work and tells his TV to turn on, and picks a half dozen channels. We’re already there. The Internet of Things, will just take it to the next level.