What to Buy for Your Personal Internet of Things (PIoT)

IIoT (vs PIoT)

Although the Internet for Things was conceived in 1999, what we live today evolved circa 2004 is The Internet of Things (IoT). You may have learned about the IoT by watching television for products such as Alexa or Nest.  Or you may have utilized sensors at work for data processing and decision making, such as in cars or airplanes or manufacturing plants.  Although billions of IoT sensors have propagated without a grand design, it has followed a textbook chaotic bifurcation, dividing into two paths – Industrial IoT (IIoT) and Personal IoT (PIoT). We’re going to start with the latter because it’s time for Santa! And Amazon is ready today to make all your Black Friday dreams come true!

So Let’s Get Personal

Personal IoT is all things in the consumer space.  It wouldn’t be surprising to find out your phone can control your home, your car, your workout, as it works with your kids, your finances, and your life in general.  To further enhance you PIoT experience, head to Home Depot or Best Buy and you can find suites of products and services that enable you to manipulate many functions of your life from your smartphone. Walking the aisles you can shop and compare the plethora of providers and options.


Follow me through this deep dive into the single point of success Amazon provides.  Why? Because IoT is another space where Amazon is leading the way with a pretty smart light (which is actually one product of many.)  You know you’re going to have to check out Amazon anyway because they are a top competitor AND Amazon links into the many, many products that connect to their and their competitors products and services. 

Can You Hear Me Now?

Let’s start with Echo plugging in your home.  Simple enough, Echo or Alexa or Google Home give you someone to talk to.  Ask for the weather or a recipe or the last night’s game score or which Beatles are still performing live. Then you ask to play your favorite Beatles songs (because it knows or at least it’s learning.) That’s kinda cool.  

Set a timer.  Make a phone call. Listen to a book. Tell the family dinner is ready.  You could pick up your phone to find out but heck, your hands are full.

Your cat will LOVE YOU!

Now let’s add a couple of special electrical outlets.  You can tell Alexa to turn on or dim the lights.  Turn the fan on or the electric blanket off.  Add more sensors for faucets, and you’ll know why and where the water bill goes up or you’ll get an alarm when a failure occurs.

Forget to feed the cat? There’s a smart pet feeder as well as an app for that. The app lets you input pet specifics and it provides “ideal” feeding schedules and amounts. You can have the pet fed automatically or you can feed from your phone or yell “Alexa, feed the cat!” when you’re home.  It also tells you when the food is running low, so Amazon can sell and deliver more cat food!  


Do we have eggs?

It used to be awesome when i could catch a family member at home while I was grocery shopping. No matter what preparation or level of detail I made the shopping list, I usually wondered whether we had this or that or whether the milk/sour cream/veggies were still good to go.  Keeping things cool is kindergarten stuff. The magnets holding up school projects and to-do lists are messy and … paper-y.  What can IoT and a smart fridge do?

This fridge keeps the family and individual calendars neatly synced for all the members.  It sets timers and let’s you know of important dates and action items.  Even more cool (har har) – this fridge tells you if the milk is spoiling!  It lets you know you’re out of eggs and the veggie drawer has been eerily vacant for some time.  How?  Lots of sensors, including cameras inside the fridge!  It not only can it provide recipes for dinner; it also let’s you know if you have the ingredients.  Yes! It does shopping lists and yes, if you want to check whether the lettuce is brown, you can see it for yourself 😉

This fridge entered the market at a crazy high end retail of $5,000-6,000 and more.  Within the past year, they have become a much more mainstream $2,000 or less.  With Black Friday approaching, now is the time to buy; this is totally within reach.  

More things??

Nest may have broken the market with climate control from your phone but ecobee closed the gap with quality and innovation.  Climate control products and those lines like it can also detect smoke and carbon monoxide and … tell you when the battery is low by alerting your phone or perhaps Alexa chiming in.  (I hate that annoying beeping.)

Alexa! fire up the vacuum bot and close the blinds and let’s get the party started.

We can also move out to the garage for more opening and closing and lock options.  Walk out on the lawn because the sprinklers keep the grass high and the bills low by watering according to what it needs and not a set schedule.

Who is Watching Whom?

Old school, the dog watched the house while you were gone.  Now you can watch the dog watching the house while you’re gone. (Is it really true dogs will get up and go to the door when their master begins the journey home?) Of course you can also watch other rooms and activities in the house, as well as outside your house before strangers approach the door.

Camera doorbells were available for the home circa 1970s or thereabouts (Wikipedia didn’t know.)  They required a person to see who was at the door or a camera recorded the attempt.  Now you can see who is at the door via your phone, real time, without having to be there.  That leads us to the door itself.

Package delivery

Lost your key?  Does the dog walker need in?  How about a repairman for the leak sprouting through to the floor below?  Keyless entry has been around for some time, but now a smart lock system permits one-time only or one-person only combinations.  You can see who needs in if you need to know, but this door lock set makes sure the right people make it inside.

And how about that Amazon delivery you need but don’t want left on the porch?  Amazon is right there for you.  They place the package gently inside with your permission.  What did we ever do without Amazon?

And if all else fails …

There’s even a button-pushing thing.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s a bot that pushes those old-fashioned thingamajigs that aren’t digital.  The MicroBot Push Button can push it once, or on and off at programmed specific times AND it can even push and hold for a specified amount of time. That’s crazy.  Just think of all the ways you could have tortured your kid sister or brother or parents by rigging that to do just the right annoying thing!

Commercial’s Over

Amazing “things” the “Internet” can do as the Internet of Things.  You can see how this thread could continue to smooth more and more of the bumps and grinds of life.  Visionaries such as Marc Andreessen believe this capability will become so much more ubiquitous.  Instead of picking up your phone to ask for the weather or look at the traffic, he believes so many more touchpoints will make having to carry a mobile phone obsolete – like a public telephone booth now.  Alexa or Google home are a good start.  

All My Stuff

For the finale, the tech futurist that I am wants to put out my product idea – Big Data All My Stuff (AMS).  AMS is the digital twin of your home and its contents.  AMS takes Big Data from multiple sources to create a virtual inventory of everything you own.  From the pics you take every day or once a year for insurance, AMS keeps an eye on what is where.  (“Honey, why is my high school bowling trophy in the attic and not in the living room?”)  AMS tracks transaction data.  It knows that you bought the artichoke spread from Trader Joe’s a lot longer ago than you thought – you need to throw it out, not on a cracker.  It knows the warranties on all the Big Stuff because it stores the date, location and internet resources for recompense.  AMS also keeps RFIDs in storage, ones that come on packaging and products or ones you add yourself.  Did one of the kids walk out the door with the go pro (and it hasn’t made it back)?  The blue suit is hanging in the closet but the brown one is still at the dry cleaners.   All the Christmas gifts from Grandma are neatly cataloged so they can be easily produced and displayed for visits.

Of course, there is a down side to AMS.  Your mother in law might figure out the figurine is in “safe keeping” in the closet or worse, regifted:)  It’s STILL an imperfect universe in the AMS future.

Next up:  Industrial IoT

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