‘Practical Techie:’ Grasping the ‘Internet of Things’

Written by  //  February 6, 2014  //  Biz Views  //  No comments

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Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com.

Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com.

The Internet, all throughout its 55-year history, has been visualized in so many disparate ways. The more it evolves the more job descriptions it gets. As it becomes more useful to humanity in different ways, the more uniforms the experts put on the good, old Internet.

The Web is always the Web, but the Internet morphs constantly. In previous columns, I’ve explained the difference between the two. One is the physical grid, the other is a planetary vault of digital data. Internet is real. Web is virtual.

Lately, the good, old Net has been re-baptized as the Internet of Things (IofT). It’s a metaphor to describe how as time goes by, more and more interactive gadgets are connected to the vast digital ecosystem

The most recent advance is wearable computing devices such as Google glasses, smart watches, clothes with tiny data screens, helmets with sensors, and more. Even some lady bags now have security sensors and geotracking chips.

Thus, in the business world, the buzz these days is how this so-called IofT would be useful for online commerce.

One way of to approach the new IofT is by making good use of the free amounts of analytical data the Web provides. This occurs on an even larger and larger scale as more gadgets are connected to the computer cloud.

The idea is to use this data to make any small business more productive.

Eye on the feedback
Its all really about deciphering how much engagement you website generates, how many new links it attracts (inbound), or what specific actions your page views generate.

In down-to-earth terms, learning to read the tea leaves in the bottom of digital cup. Next, keep an eye on the Web tool box.

Ever in an innovation mode, developers feed the Web with hundreds of new applications almost on a monthly basis. Most of it is script, that is, coding designed to make our cyberspace navigation more precise and productive. The volume and diversity of the new apps almost drive us crazy. There are even apps now to detect ghosts in old houses and buildings if you do want to develop a walking tour business around that!

Keeping tabs
Thus, the many new apps can help drive a small business forward as never before. Both the Apple App Store and Google Play boast more than one million selections.

One useful site for keeping up is mashable.com. Also social media sites have pages through which they keep us up-to-date on new developments in their platforms.

Thenextweb.com/apps/  is a must for all business people as it announces redesigns and updates of popular apps and provides tips for a better user experience.

Every now and then, visit insidemobileapps.com, because it curates quite efficiently news about the apps industry.  One site to keep abreast is mobilenations.com with carries forums and knowledgeable commentary.

Theguardian.com has an apps blog, which is always actual and freshly minted on a daily basis.

This other site, therecapp.com, describes timely and relevant apps to fit the moment. For example, in February it contains a list of apps for Valentine’s Day, perhaps a boon for people in the business of selling flowers and romance services.  And so on.

The idea is to discover soonest — before the competition does — how any of the new gadgets, apps or Internet innovations can help your business become even more dynamic.

Special attention must be paid to any new online connectivity systems and devices that comprise this new Internet of Things.

Flexibility is opportunity
Remember, a business opportunity might lurk behind any new gadget, app or innovative connections into the digital cloud. The technology under the IoT has become so flexible that creative business ideas can sprout from anywhere.

If your business is apparel, or jewelry, all the latest wearable electronic devices can offer new vertical markets that were not there before.

The Internet of Things is fast revolving towards automation of our daily tasks. An example of this is the array of smart devices the likes of utility meters, gadgets to adjust the heating and cooling systems in homes and buildings, energy usage tools or to monitor security, all Internet based.

And there is more to come in the IoT.

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