Imagine waking up in the morning and your alarm on your device has looked at your diary, checked your schedule and worked out how long it will take you to get to work based on the current traffic conditions. Your device will know what the weather is like and suggest what you could wear for a comfortable day. Your home sensors will have adjusted your geyser and air conditioner to the current weather conditions and your cappuccino will be ready by the time you get out the shower.
This is an example of the internet’s current revolutionary trend: the Internet of Things, which has taken internet solutions to a whole new level.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a mesh of connected devices that are constantly providing information into a central nervous system. Imagine billions of devices embedded with sophisticated sensors that are coupled with computing power providing valuable information to use in our everyday lives.
Mark Hung, former Vice President of the global research and advisory firm Gartner, has specifically stated, “we expect to see 20 billion internet-connected things by 2020”. This is a massive increase when you consider that in 2009 there were just fewer than one billion connected devices.
These connected devices are going to add incredible value to our lives if used properly. For businesses it means better efficiencies and controls, which will lead to improved safety and security through the use of real-time data models. Combining these connected sensors in a smart building will result in a greener environment.
Google has been a major player when it comes to the rise of the IoT, and their trail of acquisitions a few years ago gives a clear indication of this.
Google acquired a company called Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion. According to Nest, “we take the unloved products in your home and make simple, beautiful, thoughtful things”. And they have certainly revolutionised the traditional thermostat and smoke detector.
The Nest thermostat learns your schedule and programs itself accordingly, without you adjusting your home temperature settings. By doing this they claim they can lower energy costs by up to 20%.
In the same year, Google also acquired a company called Imperium, which focuses on cyber security, and a company called DeepMind Technologies that specialises in artificial intelligence, for $650 million.
Prior to these acquisitions Google bought no less than six companies that focus on robotics and make anything from wheels, to cameras and arms. They also purchased companies that did natural language processing, cloud computing, gesture recognition, GPS navigation, and a company that analyses data like speed, location, and nearby devices on smartphones.
Google spent at least $6 billion on companies that are aimed at connecting into the IoT, and this was just the beginning of their acquisition spree.
Fast forward to 2019 and Google now has its very own IoT solutions platform, which comprises numerous features that will make it easier for users to build connected devices. Thanks to Google the IoT is a click away.