Home Tech Wearables

Wearables

How smart technology is being ingrained into everything we wear

Game of Things: GOT vs. IoT Season 1

Ever since I started my job at Leverege, I’ve been immersing myself in the world of IoT. As a non-technical person, I’ve been reading up on and learning about connected devices, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

I’ve also been immersing myself in the world of Westeros. On top of attempting to memorize more acronyms than I’ve ever seen before (LPWAN, CBRS, M2M) related to IoT, I’ve also been tasked with keeping track of how all the Lannisters are related, figuring out who killed whom, where, and for what reason, and reminding myself that Khaleesi and Daenerys are the same person.

New to the very different worlds of IoT and GOT, I found myself wondering what it would be like if Arya, Jon Snow, and Daenerys had some of the IoT and related technologies we see emerging today.

Image courtesy

Direbots

Imagine if the Stark children’s direwolves were all cute little… voice assistants. Sansa, Robb, Jon, Arya, and Bran would have their own artificial intelligence robots that they carry everywhere with them. They could deliver messages for them, play games, and teach them history, language, and other skills.

Ghost, how do I apply to be a man of the Nights Watch? 

Not only would these direbots serve as the helpful voice assistants we know today, they could have helped to avoid major deaths and accidents involving some of our favorite characters.

It was heartbreaking to watch as Ned Stark’s children witnessed his death at the hands of Joffrey. But what if he had a direbot too?

You may have heard about the 2016 murder case in Arkansas where information from the suspects smart water meter was used in court along with possible recordings from his Alexa device.

If Ned Stark had an Alexa-like device on or around him at all times, he may have been able to pick up the conversation he had with Robert Baratheon and confirm that the king requested Ned serve in his place until Joffrey was of age.

Similarly, Bran’s direbot could have picked up the conversion that Jamie and Cersei were having before they pushed him out of the tower. The Stark’s would have been able to bring them to justice early on, avoiding many of the fights and deaths that arise in attempt to keep this secret.

Image courtesy

Wearables in Westeros

Khal Drogo, also known as “my sun and stars”, suffered a similarly sad fate. In sticking up for his Khaleesi, he was cut, and that cut got infected and caused his death, which eventually led to some creepy blood magic and then suffocation via pillow.

This easily could have been prevented with the help of the wearable tech we see today. Smartwatches now can track our daily activity, sleep quality, and heart rate. As this technology progresses, it will be able to tell us our glucose levels, blood pressure, and more.

If Khal had a smart, wearable device that was monitoring his health, he and his army surely would have been able to treat him earlier on and potentially save his life, meaning Daenerys would still have her army behind her as she ventured on to reclaim her throne.

Syrio Forel - VR Training
Image courtesy

Syrio 2.0 – The Hottest VR App

With Season 1 ending with Ned’s death, I know we’re in for a long fight. I want to see my favorite characters like Arya and Jon Snow make it to the end and I know that our current AR/VR technology would help them prepare.

As much as I love Syrio Forel and would never want to see him replaced, as I was watching Arya attend her “dancing” lessons, I couldn’t help imagine how easy it would’ve been for her to train with a VR headset.

At her own convenience, she could put on the headset and would get to participate in virtual fights of different intensity and against opponents of different sizes and speeds, until she moves up level after level.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

Syrio 2.0 would absolutely have to be programmed to say catchy slogans and drop bombs of wisdom at the perfect time, though. How else would we know the secret to staying alive is to keep telling death to just chill out and wait one more day?

And imagine how much this technology could have helped the men of the Night’s Watch during their training? By the end of their time training at Castle Black, they’d be the best fleet of fighters, which would no doubt help them beyond the wall and against the Lannisters.

I now hate Joffrey enough that I need to keep watching until he dies, at least. So keep an eye out for my IoT vs. GOT recap of Season 2 to follow along as I navigate the realm of IoT.

What IoT technologies can you see playing a role in GoT? Comment below!

Amazon Working on First Wearable Device: Alexa-Powered Smart Glasses

Amazon-Working-on-Alexa-Powered-Smart-Glasses-Its-First-Wearable-Device

Financial times reported today that Amazon is working on it’s first ever wearable device – a pair of smart glasses.

According to the report, the glasses will allow the user to connect to Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, anytime, anywhere. The glasses will also allow the user to hear Alexa without having to use headphones.

Amazon’s move into wearables shows the company is willing to take risks, especially on products that enhance the widely popular Alexa, the device that has given the company a clear path into the home.

Read the full article here.

Concept For Smart Glasses That Can Control Devices Via Nose Gestures

Computer scientists from KAIST University in South Korea, Keio University in Japan, the University of St Andrews in Scotland and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US have developed a concept for smartglasses that can control a device by picking up on the users gestures to their own nose.

The smartglasses, which would look like a regular pair of glasses, are able to decipher the difference between when the user holding their nose, rubbing it, or flicking it. These different gestures would be picked up by electrooculography (EOG) sensors located on the bridge and nose pads of the glasses, and could signal a device, like your phone, to skip a song, turn up the volume, or rewind.

Read the full story here.

IoT Predictions: Which IoT Segments Will Succeed?

IoT-Predictions-Which-IoT-Segments-will-Succeed

We recently took a look at IoT Tech Predictions From 6 Of Your Favorite Childhood Movies, including smartwatches predicted in Dick Tracy and virtual assistants in 2001: Space Odyssey. However, while it’s fun to look back at the predictions that proved true, there are countless more that never actualized. Many predictions are just hype or fanciful thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s inevitable that we’ll continue to connect people and machines. It’s inevitable that we’ll continue to instill ordinary objects with intelligence.

But it’s not inevitable nor clear which people and machines we’ll connect first, how we’ll connect them, nor what opportunities or issues might arise from those newfound connections.

Benefits vs. Costs

As I’ve written about in the past, I see IoT as accomplishing one (or more) of the following tasks; increasing efficiency, improving health/safety, or creating better experiences.

To understand where IoT is going and where we’ll see the most growth, we need to examine what tasks are being accomplished by a particular area of IoT and at what cost. In general, expect that the areas of highest growth will be those with both clear, compelling benefits and transparent, low costs. Let’s explore some examples.

Clear Benefits and Costs

Between consumer IoT and industrial IoT, industrial IoT has seen much more success to date. This can be explained by the relative ease with which we can see substantial benefits at low costs.

Industrial IoT is primarily about increasing efficiency, and increased efficiency can be directly translated into increased profits. For organizations that are considering implementing an industrial IoT solution, such as predictive analytics or preventive maintenance, it’s a simple calculus. How long will it take for the expected gains in profit to outweigh the expected cost of implementation?

Industrial IoT has seen success because there are solutions that have established this clear ROI (i.e. significant monetary benefits at low enough upfront costs).

Another good example of clear benefits and costs is smart buildings, though the costs are not yet low enough across the board. As we wrote about last week, only 10% of the world’s commercial real estate has smart building tech to monitor and control HVAC, lighting, power, and related systems. Why? Because any building smaller than 100K square feet would take too many years to realize a positive ROI.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

As sensors and networks become easier and cheaper to deploy, suddenly the ROI will be there for buildings under 100K square feet, allowing smart building tech to proliferate to the other 90%.

The biggest opportunities for growth in the coming years are therefore areas where the benefits are clear and the costs are both transparent and decreasing.

For other areas of IoT, either the costs are too high or the benefits are unclear.

Unclear Benefits and/or Too-High Costs

On the consumer side, the wearables market has progressed slower than earlier expectations. If you’re buying a smartwatch, the cost is completely transparent, but wearables as a whole have faltered in offering a clear and significant benefit. Fitbit, once king of the wearables market, provides a good lesson.

Four months ago, Apple passed Fitbit in market share. Two months ago, Chinese handset maker Xiaomi leapfrogged into first and put Fitbit into third.

Xiaomi has gained marketshare by providing low-end wearables with accompanying, affordable price points. The Mi Band is priced as low as $14.99.

Apple is more interesting, with a high-end approach to smartwatches befitting the company’s business model (i.e. selling premium hardware, differentiated by software, at a significant margin). Apple has gained success where Fitbit has lost it for two reasons:

First, because Apple controls both the hardware and the software of its various products, Apple can offer a more seamless, integrated experience that extends beyond just the smartwatch. Whereas Fitbit must integrate with smartphones and/or other devices from separate companies, Apple can offer services (such as Apple Pay and Apple Music) more readily. Overall, this provides a greater, clearer benefit to the customer.

Second, and more importantly, Apple has doubled down on fitness and health for it’s Series 2 watch. Why is this more important? Although greater integration and a more seamless experience is an added benefit, it’s not enough in and of itself.

For any successful IoT solution, there needs to be a compelling, single reason to justify the cost. For Industrial IoT, that benefit is monetary. So what is the benefit for smartwatches or wearables in general?

If you check out this list of 30 Exciting Things You Can Do With the Apple Watch, you’ll find that very few live up to exciting. “Change your watch face”? “Send Apple Watch emoji”? How riveting…

These might be nice to have, but the real benefit is self-tracking.

These days, most of us carry supercomputers in our pockets, but they can’t track the way smartwatches can. Unlike smartwatches, our phones are not on us while we sleep, they’re left at home while we run/swim/bike, and they’re not constantly pressed against our skin. Smartwatches can thus meet an important need, automatically tracking personal data to provide useful insights into health and fitness.

However, wearables have seen slower-than-expected growth because the benefit still isn’t clear and compelling enough. Anecdotally, I purchased my first smart watch a year ago because I loved the idea of customizing workouts and then tracking my exact progress. But the smartwatch quickly fell into disuse. The things that my smartwatch tracked weren’t that useful, as it still required me to take the data and find insights on my own.

Eventually, smartwatches will track our heartbeat, daily activity, glucose levels, blood pressure, and more to provide us with truly useful insight. We’ll know that our sudden drop in energy is because we’re dehydrated and should drink some water. We’ll know that we sleep best when it’s exactly 66 degrees in our room, and the temperature will automatically adjust accordingly. We’ll know when we’re beginning to slip off our baseline of health, and get suggestions to prevent sickness before it strikes.

But that’s eventually. Right now, IoT solutions that are priced too high and/or on’t offer compelling benefits will see slow adoption like wearables.

So What?

If the above sounded obvious to you, that’s because it’s true. IoT is really, really hard. There are no universal, drag-and-drop or plug-and-play solutions right now. Instead, organizations are wading through uncertainty and complication to develop specific IoT solutions for specific problems.

That’s why it’s absolutely critical to understand the benefits of what the organization is attempting, to make the uncertainty worth it. And the less uncertainty and more clarity on the outcome, the better. But of course, this doesn’t matter either if the cost isn’t low enough.

So whether you’re building IoT solutions, buying them, or just following the market from afar, focus on areas in which value is clear and costs are low. Although identifying these areas is no easy task either.

Can IoT Predict Earthquakes?

IoT Earthquake prediction

My seventh-grade son, Brendan, is basically familiar with what Dad does for a living — helping companies bring IoT products to market. He gets the basics of how the technology works and what it can do. He knows, for example, that companies are deploying our technology to track the precise location and condition of animals like cows.

The Hypothesis

One morning, he surprised me with a question: could Dad’s technology be used to predict earthquakes?

He had read a book about a guy named Jim Berkland who predicted the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake here in California plus two later earthquakes, based on an increase in classified advertisements for lost dogs in the preceding weeks along with other weather and related data. You can get the book and decide for yourself whether you think his methodology is valid.

But beyond his “model” there are centuries of folklore about animals behaving in strange ways prior to an earthquake. My mother-in-law, to provide just one anecdotal example, insists that her two cocker spaniels living in Mountain View, California “went crazy” in the days leading up to Loma Prieta.

So my son decided for his eight-week science project that he would test whether it is possible to predict an earthquake by testing the question: do animals move more or less prior to a seismic event? There are lots of “little” or medium-sized earthquakes around the Bay Area every day and perhaps he’d discover something.

Regardless, it was a pretty ambitious goal given the timeline and his resources, but his science teacher OK’d the project and to my wife and me, the line of inquiry was novel enough for an 11-year old that it didn’t seem right to discourage him.

After a bit of emailing around to nearby cattle ranches to find a rancher willing to participate, we were introduced to the folks at the TomKat Ranch in Pescadero, California who specialize in educational/scientific research in agro/livestock topics. (NB: these folks are doing some groundbreaking research in agro and sold me some amazing grass fed bone-in-ribeye steak — highly recommend).

We decided not to use Dad’s technology in the interests of minimizing the perception of too much “help” from the parents — something that plagues science fairs everywhere, I believe. Instead, after some brainstorming, he decided to attach (cheap) FitBit Zips to the ears of a few of goats and cows for 30 days in order to measure changes in movement.

iGoat 1.0. A FitBit Zip movement tracker + yellow duct tape

The results: according to USGS, there was no significant earthquake activity in the Santa Cruz/Half Moon Bay/San Mateo area during his month of testing so … there was no correlation of a change of movement with a seismic event. Only a decrease in movement on some days due to the heavy rains (El Nino) we received last winter in California. Also: goats move around quite a bit, and cows … not so much.

However, the reactions from the ranchers, science fair judges, and others who learned about the project can be summed up with one word: fascinating.

In California, those who have lived through a major earthquake (I thankfully have not, since 1993, been part of one) seem to react more viscerally to the topic of earthquake prediction. Most of the adults Brendan spoke to were not aware of Berkland’s research and I’ll predict that if someone were to sponsor a ballot initiative to fund large scale testing of this hypothesis, it would pass easily.

In fairness, this spring the U.S. Congress approved $10 million in funding to build an earthquake “early warning” system (not a prediction system) for California that would provide … drum roll please … a one-minute warning of an earthquake. For most of us, such a warning is close to meaningless.

An Opportunity For A Low Cost Earthquake Prediction System?

Previous research efforts to correlate animal behavior with earthquakes appear to be limited and/or very outdated. One study was based exclusively on interviews with farmers after the fact. Until recently, high data acquisition and device costs would have prevented the kind of long term, large scale longitudinal research that we might expect against something as valuable as predicting earthquakes.

Even in my son’s research, using FitBit Zips to measure movement requires manually acquiring the data via Bluetooth every, say, 30 days, which is time-consuming (you have to get within a few feet of each animal, which is tricky and messy) and expensive.

Lower cost, lower power, and longer range wireless technologies give researchers an opportunity to take another look at these earthquake prediction hypotheses. LPWAN technologies being deployed for the (business) purposes of animal tracking, using time stamped location and environmental sensor data, can serve a dual purpose of supplying researchers with valuable data on animal movement, temperature, and location.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

A diverse range of domestic animals — dogs, cats, sheep, goats — are now more easily tracked, but non-domestic animals like deer or squirrels (my company, Haystack, has received a request to build a squirrel tracker — not joking) are also potential research subjects.

Getting farmers to give up their data might be easy, or not so easy. For researchers interested in studying earthquakes that want to cut to the chase and tag their own animals or animals they can easily access, the cost of executing a LPWAN-based sensing and data acquisition effort is dropping: tags in low volumes can be had for < $50 and gateways are only nominally more expensive.

Networking stacks offer opportunities to query an endpoint’s GPS location in real-time, which is of great interest to ranchers, but also offer the ability to structure queries in real-time to endpoints, which optimizes endpoint battery life and creates new opportunities for researchers to analyze the behavior of individual animals in real-time.

Whether the centuries of earthquake prediction folklore are just hindsight bias (I’m not accusing my mother-in-law of this, honestly) or a legit indication that animals can sense a coming earthquake, as IoT permeates the agriculture sector, it seems likely that someone will be able to re-test these hypotheses in more meaningful ways and perhaps without much incremental investment.

Chipping – Will We All Embed Sensors Under Our Skin?

Chipping-Will-We-All-Embed-Chips-Under-Our-Skin

Listen to the audio version of this article!

Imagine a world in the not-too-distant future where every human on the planet serves as an autonomous, intelligent sensor system and voluntarily opts into the construct for free? Well welcome to the latest cyborg phenomenon called “chipping.”

What is “Chipping”?

In its current instantiation, people pay around $300 to have a tattoo artist or other body modification professional insert a small capsule under their skin – typically between the thumb and index finger. The device, about the size of a grain of rice, is an RFID tag and enables its human host to open doors, unlock computers, or even pay for goods and services.

It’s still early days and there are many concerns regarding privacy and security but it’s hard to imagine this going away. Wouldn’t it be great to simply swipe your hand to whisk through long lines at the airport or purchase that candy bar you’re craving in the vending machine? The convenience is just too alluring.

So will we all chip ourselves?

Think of all of the possibilities if >7B people were networked into a massive wireless sensor system that could detect all sorts of internal and external environmental conditions – temperature, humidity, light, radiation, air quality, acceleration, position – the list is endless. It would be one of the most powerful IoT systems the world has ever known.

Throw in a little AI/ML magic and its predictive capabilities will be amazing and further bridge the physical and digital divide. The Internet will no longer simply be a sea of faceless humming servers and web pages. It will come alive in the truest sense of the word.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

And the embedded sensors don’t have to simply monitor the natural environment. They can understand your body chemistry and alert you (and medical professionals) to anomalies in serum levels and blood counts; providing an omnipresent early warning system for sickness and disease. They will be able to discern the effectiveness of prescribed drugs in real-time, make diet recommendations on the fly, and tell you what foods you should eat for maximum performance – whether that’s a highly competitive sporting event or just a run-of-the-mill day at the office. No longer will we have to guess or “get lucky” when it comes to health, fitness and wellbeing.

Yes, privacy advocates and security professionals will have a field day predicting the dire ramifications of this new world but it won’t stop our relentless march toward it. Blockchain technologies, unbreakable encryption, miniaturization, remote charging, and other techniques yet to be invented will win out ultimately.

The benefits of an always-on society simply outweigh the downsides.

We already embed microchips into our most beloved pets to help us find them if they get lost. When do you think we will start chipping children at birth? Many of you may bristle at that thought but it wouldn’t surprise me if the practice were commonplace in 10-20 years.

Let’s face it – humans are the perfect sensors. We’re rechargeable, self-correcting, mobile, long lasting, and smart by default.

It won’t be long before the IoT systems we build directly integrate people into the solution. In some ways we already have but the humans are sitting behind keyboards or swiping on touch screens. The ultimate man machine interface is just around the corner. Strange and exciting times indeed…

5 Reasons Why Synchronization is Critical to IoT

5 Reasons Why Synchronization is Critical to IoT

Unless you’re a networking nerd, synchronization is probably more familiar as a term used with wristwatches or iTunes than as an IoT term, but the future of the IoT may actually depend on this topic.

Synchronization — the way an IoT device adjusts its internal clock in order to align with the clocks of other devices in a network — lies (surprisingly) at the center of many of today’s IoT challenges, particularly for low-power IoT.

Clocks help devices pinpoint the moment when, for example, a sensor measurement is going to be shared with the network. If your device’s clock is out sync with those of other devices in the network, it will miss messages, collide with other messages being sent by other devices, or waste energy trying to get back in sync.

Clocks drift out of synchronization, especially those using low cost, commodity computing parts that are often used in low power IoT. So to keep networking running efficiently, clocks need to be synchronized in order to make the data flow in a reliable way.

More than a few inventors of wireless IoT technologies didn’t focus too intensely on synchronization, perhaps because they were using TCP/IP as their networking model, which while I’m thinking about it reminds me — even if slightly off topic — of this:

Most “low power” IoT protocols implemented something similarly byzantine when they designed their method for network sync. For example, here is a picture of 6lowPAN — which famously claims to be a low power means of implementing IPv6 on a wireless network — initiating the sync process:

For 6lowPAN, this process is repeated many times — let’s refer to it as “strobing” — until the endpoint has synchronized its listening cycle with the host. Unfortunately, with 6lowPAN all this “strobing” takes power, can only be done one endpoint at a time, and if the data rate is low the endpoint will burn up lots of battery life as it listens and strobes.

For 6lowPAN and others in the IoT using “old school” network sync, the cost of not getting it right is high for at 5 reasons:

1) Battery Life

Like politicians promising to change Washington, most low power IoT technologies don’t tell the truth about battery life. Cellular people you already know who you are.

ZigBee, Thread and others are also guilty because bad sync processes do to batteries what badly under-inflated tires do to your car’s gas mileage. Multi-year battery life is what makes low power IoT … low power. Bad sync = bad battery life.

2) Connection Time

Some wireless technologies can take many seconds or even minutes to connect, due almost entirely to weak synchronization schemes. For an on-demand world where we expect immediate results when it comes to IoT, a bad sync method in a mission critical environment can render obsolete information created only seconds earlier.

Smart city or public safety applications, for example, are poorly served with slow-sync technologies. Slow-sync protocols are also a no-go for IoT control apps like implementing a kill switch on a piece of industrial equipment.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

3) Dense-Packed Endpoint Environments

Environments with lots of endpoints are intimidating to IoT protocols with weak sync schemes. As in, they shouldn’t even get into the ring to pretend to compete.

Imagine trying to run a query in a warehouse with 2,000 endpoints and establishing sync with each endpoint— one-by-one — in order to engage in a group broadcast or to query a group of endpoints or to send out a security patch. Industrial IoT environments are particularly sensitive to this issue.

4) Indoor Location

A growing part of battery-powered IoT has to do with locating things. Outdoors, we seem to be relying more and more on GPS, but indoors is another matter.

Being able to locate something indoors in any kind of real-time way requires fast synchronization with a gateway/access point or, more importantly, with other endpoints on a peer-to-peer basis. Slow-sync protocols are a no-go for these applications.

5) Security

IoT technologies with weak sync schemes take longer to exchange keys and are more vulnerable to unwanted discovery and spoofing. Fast-sync protocols are also better able to support two-factor authentication and can remain in a quiet/listen-before-talk mode that protects privacy and inhibits unauthorized discovery.

The Future of Wearable Technology – 3 Key Drivers

The Future of Wearable Technology

The hype around wearable technology seems endless, as consumers and businesses alike expect these devices to take over our lives. In fact, research data by CCS Insight mentioned that the wearable market is projected to be worth $25 billion by 2019, with smartwatches commanding a 60% share of the market.

While there’s a growing demand for smartwatches, the technology is far from perfect and is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, recent developments make the future look promising. Read on below as we reveal the three key drivers behind the future of wearable technology.

1. Better Wearable Operating Systems

Experience has taught Google, Apple, and Samsung to make smartwatches more user-friendly. Every time they update operating systems, it offers users something new.

Google’s new Android Wear 2.0, which LG will be using with their Watch Sport and Watch Style, is loaded with new features including the new Google Fit and the smarter Google Assistant. The best part is the addition of Android Pay via NFC and Smart Reply system that makes the devices very similar to smartphones. This will be competing against the Apple Watch, which is already built with Apple Pay services.

Aside from tech companies, watchmakers Swatch and Tag Heuer have also showed interest in developing their own smartwatch OS. Based on a report by TechCrunch, Swatch aims to create an in-house OS that focuses on things that many devices sorely lack, such as battery life. Their executives said the system will be focused on ‘thinking small,’ requiring less power to run it.

2. Standalone, Tether-Free Devices

Manufacturers are now looking at making reliable smartwatches that are tether-free, performing similar tasks to smartphones without having to pair them together. This will address the common concern of many users that think wearables are just mobile accessories.

Samsung has successfully launched their own standalone smartwatch that comes with its own SIM card slot and able to run apps and connect to Wi-Fi or mobile data. Apple is also rumored to be developing a tether-free watch.

Although you can currently find various standalone watches on Amazon, they have unsatisfactory ratings and reviews with issues regarding reliability, compatibility, and unreliable OS. However, more reliable standalone and tethered-free devices are set to be released on the market soon, which will help smartwatches gain mainstream acceptance.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

3. More Accurate GPS

Mitsubishi that made headlines when they accelerated their plans to deliver their ‘crazily accurate GPS’ this year, which is expected to be released in 2018. Jamie Hinks wrote in his article on T3 that the project aims to link up to four new satellites.

The Japanese company isn’t aiming to replace the US GPS system, rather they only plan to iron out any inaccuracies in the tracking service so that locations can be mapped accurately as more industries start utilizing the technology.

According to a post published by Telogis, the wide availability of GPS gave birth to the telematics industry, integrating the other technologies (i.e. computers and mobile devices) to allow for remote management of smartwatches, smart cars, and other assets.

Smartwatches will also be more reliable in tracking the locations of its users, which is vital for demographics such as the elderly. As GPS becomes more available, high-tech, and accurate, it’s expected that more technologies and industries will be developed that utilizes its potential.

In summary, the future of the smartwatch industry is looking bright and promising, despite its ups and downs. The technology is a great platform that will help businesses process requests better and make people’s lives easier in every possible way.

Written by JBiTech, a tech blogger. Armed with her strong passion for consumer gadgets, wearable tech, and mobile innovations, she can be your ultimate resource for the latest buzz in the tech industry.

Imagining the Airport of the Future with Today’s IoT Technologies

Imagining the Airport of the Future with Today's IoT Technologies

Listen to the audio version of this article!

Think back to your most recent experience at the airport. For all its romance of a bygone era, the airport experience has become a drag.

You show up hours early only to stand in line after line, with harried TSA agents doing their best to stay positive or at least neutral as they deal with hordes of worn-out and tired passengers just trying to get home.

As a passenger, the security checkpoints can feel demeaning and impersonal. Remove your belt, take off your shoes, no, sir, you don’t have to take off your shoes, we changed our policy on that, please stop hopping on one foot.

Once you get to the gate, you sit around for an hour or run breathlessly through the airport only to show up and find there was a five minute delay anyway. You wait for your Zone to be called for boarding and ask yourself why they chose the word Zone when everyone crowds around the entrance in a meaningless blob. The plane won’t leave without you, folks.

Finally, you board and bump and tersely, yet politely, say “Excuse me, please,” while fighting for overhead bin space. When you fall into your seat, you try to concentrate on the “Top 5,000 Food Destinations in Orlando” in Generic Travel Magazine Quarterly when it hits you: did you leave the oven on?

There has to be another way.

Imagining the IoT Airport of the Future

With the Internet of Things, there is. The experience can change for the better, and significantly so. Connected technology can help reduce wait times, increase security, and simply give passengers a better user experience.

And the best part? The underlying technologies to do so are here, even if they aren’t broadly adopted by airports quite yet. Let’s examine how the experience changes.

Luggage

First, you walk in the entrance and look at the sign for departing flights. It knows the planes associated with those standing nearby thanks to low-energy bluetooth beacons and puts those flights in a highlighted category at the top. You’ve got 35 minutes until your international flight, plenty of time.

You walk to drop off your checked baggage and put it on the scale. It measures the weight, calculates a total, and you pay on your smartwatch. The baggage is tracked throughout the process, and you can check to see where it’s going at any time.

Temperature, humidity, and g-force sensors in the smart bag help give it a health rating you can check on your phone at any time. If the bag is opened, you will know, and there are smart tags on all your valuables so you can track if they were removed.

When your luggage gets out of range of your watch, it automatically locks (but you can use the on-board finger scanner to unlock it if your watch is dead). The TSA has the ability to open or close the bag, but a history of who does so is tracked. Together, these measures can virtually eliminate the problem of things disappearing from your luggage.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

Security

You stroll over to the security checkpoint and start walking down a short tunnel. The TSA agent at the other end smiles as you walk through. The tunnel does a few things.

First, it communicates with your smartwatch. Your watch relays your carry-on’s contents (via an RFID reader reading tags on each thing inside), as well as who you are and what plane you are boarding. The security guard operator has a HoloLens that allows her to see meta information about each person walking through the tunnel, including if their bag has been scanned and cleared.

You’ve opted-in to facial recognition, so a face scan confirms your identity. Divorcing travel information from your identity, the system uses blockchain technology to match with your previous trips and assigns a risk factor using an open-source algorithm that is constantly improved to decrease false positives and checked by researchers to guard against bias.

As you walk through the tunnel, it scans to make sure you aren’t carrying anything dangerous. Algorithms flag potential security issues or obstructed views, which are confirmed by TSA agents working behind a wall (so your scanned image is dissociated from your person).

They alert the TSA agent at the other end of the tunnel to flag you down if there is a potential problem, otherwise your watch and the tunnel illuminate green to inform you that you are good-to-go. If you accidentally forgot you had your pocket knife on you, the watch turns red and directs you to a manual check.

Those without smart devices or bags are still able to walk through the tunnel, they just drop their luggage off to the right before entering. And while they may not get notifications on their watch, they still get lights within the tunnel indicating that they can walk right through.

Boarding

After you leave the tunnel, your watch silently illuminates with a notification to get directions to your gate if you’d like them. Bluetooth Low Energy beacons inform you of your location within the terminal, and your watch indicates a countdown to boarding.

Your boarding time is slightly different than everyone else’s to eliminate the line to get on the plane, and the first to board are those with window seats. With ten minutes to spare, you decide to grab a coffee on the way to the gate.

At the gate, you scan your watch on an NFC reader and the flight attendant smiles and welcomes you. He knows your name and your seat, and kindly directs you to it. On the side of the seat, your row number illuminates a specific color and pulses at a frequency that matches a pulsing light on your watch until you sit down.

As you settle into your seat and close your eyes, you ask yourself if you left your oven on. You pull out your phone and check your home monitoring app.

Nope, everything is fine. You snuggle into the corner and start in on “Top 5,000 Food Destinations in Orlando” in Generic Travel Magazine Quarterly. Who writes this stuff, anyway?

 

Mood Predicting Wearables

Mood-Predicting-Wearables
illustration by Viet Huynh

If you are working on some natural language processing application, you probably came across sentiment analysis at some point. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) have now released a prototype of a wearable device that can predict the mood of a speech.

The device recognizes speech, transcribes the audio into text, and combines physiological signals to determine the tone in real-time with 83% accuracy. Sentiment analysis is available for five second intervals during a conversation. The algorithm runs locally on purpose, keeping the privacy of users in mind.

 

IoT For All Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and exclusive content!

 

The research team found that their device is approximately 18% more accurate than prediction via pure chance. This is a significant 7.5% improvement over existing approaches. Tuka Alhanai, the co-author of the research paper, plans to improve the algorithm by tweaking the neural network to organize different features (text vs. physiological data) at various layers of the network.

Alhanai also added that they are planning to collect more data, deploy with more commercial devices (e.g. Apple Watch), and improve the accuracy to “call out boring, tense, and excited moments, rather than just labeling interactions as ‘positive’ or ‘negative.’” The ultimate goal would be to elevate the algorithm to be deployed for social coaching tools. A wearable device might be a discreet tool to help navigate difficult social situations for people with anxiety or Asperger’s.

Trending

More Content