By this stage we have all basically accepted that cloud and the IoT (internet of things) is a part of our future, if you haven’t, you should probably assess your life and start the process of acceptance.
As cloud enabled devices become more pervasive we are being almost forced to accept them into our lives and households, yet no one seems to be considering, at least openly and loudly, the implications of an IoT household.
I will admit that I am young, that I am obsessed with the speed of my internet connection, that I am obsessed with my Netflix account, and that I am completely lost during a power-outage. Now, if my whole house is cloud dependent, how am I going to handle it?!
The average broadband speed in the UK is currently 18.7Mbps. Urban centres are getting 33.4Mbps, suburban are running at 22.9Mbps, and rural areas are achieving 13.6Mbps. Despite all of this we cannot help but constantly desire faster connections, no one enjoys the buffering of the newest episode of House of Cards on Netflix.
We can easily assume that most of those households are running at least 3 devices connected to their internet router. Between laptops, phones, tablets and televisions the average UK household is already demanding a lot from their connection.
In 2014 IoT devices rose into our vision like a mountain range on the horizon, a veritable Everest of bandwidth limit consuming doodads and wotsits.
Now don’t get me wrong, I want a wifi enabled smart toaster just as much as the rest of you, if it can butter my crumpets for me, even better! What I’m worried about is the toll this is going to have on my network.
I’ve lived in shared housing, when 4 people on 7 devices are all using the same wifi to try to watch tv, stream music, and use social media all at the same time, hell might as well break use. The network doesn’t stand for it. Maybe you’re all scoffing and saying “well I’m on the most advanced internet plan there is” – but could it withstand a whole household of connected devices?
In 2014 there was announcements of products such as Amazon Echo the smart device that is like a personal assistant for your home, and Apple has home-kit on the horizon for 2015, which will work with Apple TV to control everything in your abode. From your heating, to your lighting, to the power-strip you left your hair straightener/dryer/kettle plugged into this morning – you’ll be able to turn all of these off once you’re already running down the street to catch that last tube which will get you to work at a mildly acceptable degree of lateness.
Smart fridges have been around since 2012, LCD screens and internet connections are almost old news in the kitchen world, you’ll never run out of milk again once your fridge is ordering it for you. Ovens that have capabilities for internet searches and making sure you never burn another Sunday roast also aren’t out of the ordinary. But this is just a tiny part of the kitchen.
How are our bandwidths going to cope once our washing machines, dishwashers, music systems, toilets, showers, beds, alarm clocks, and wardrobes are all downloading and uploading data in the name of simplifying our lives?
Yes, I’ll admit, the smart closet that lets me plan my outfit for the day a’la Cher from Clueless has always been a dream, but if it means I have to double or triple my internet bill, do I need it? Can I afford it? The answer to both is probably not.
Whilst researching this article I discovered the aforementioned smart closet is actually a reality, though first I will need to teach IBM Watson all about my fashion sense, and vastly increase my bank account to afford all of the tech.
The IoT is the future for us, but we are presently not equipped to handle it. Personally I’d prefer that my Netflix stream quickly over my fridge ordering my milk, and when it comes down to it, I don’t think that my present network could handle a house full of connected devices anyway.