Let the Internet of Things Solve Problems That Matter

by | Feb. 9, 2016

In what other universe, other than the Internet of Things, can insulin pumps and high-end automobiles be mentioned in the same thought bubble?

During a recent visit to my endocrinologist, I, as usual, complained about what a pain in the kiester it was to manage an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor and glucometer (that’s the meter you use to test your blood glucose level). Yes, it affords what Type 1s refer to as “good control,” but it is balancing act that takes time, patience and a lot of money. And, it forces us to have two connected “wearables” and two controllers that operate those gizmos which adds a lot of bulk and compromises one’s fashion sense.

The good news, according to my doctor, is that “autonomous insulin pumps” are currently being tested. Using new sensor technology and advanced algorithms, the device will offer a “closed loop” solution that keeps track of a patient’s blood glucose level in real time and disperses microdoses of insulin as needed. The closed loop nature of this futurescape is key to both the autonomous insulin pump and other autonomous IoT ecosystems. In a closed loop scenario, the benefit is an end-to-end product that identifies the issue and resolves it in the same pipeline, harvesting required external data.

Moving from matters of health to matters of the highway, the connected car—in its many forms—is riding a crest atop the IoT buzzmeter. Growing adoption of smart home systems and technologies is coinciding with the increasing prevalence of connected consumer vehicles. Click here to learn more about this connected car research.

In the grand scheme of things in the Internet of Things, the things that connect your car to your smart home (especially those that manage power) seem to make a lot of sense. I particularly like the ability to control my home’s lights and thermostats from the push of the button in my car. I think advanced diagnostic controls that connect my ride to the dealer or manufacturer to fix minor issues have a strong value proposition as does anything that leads to fuel economy. For an ersatz digital immigrant who grew up on Eight-Tracks and cassettes, anything more than a USB connector to allow me to play recorded podcasts is a few notches past nice to have. I will take satellite radio if the price is right.

As for cars that don’t require an individual driver to get around—they have been around for more than 100 years—they’re called buses. The need to make things so easy and convenient (at a cost) is where technology loses track of consumer value (and willingness to pay for). Do I want my car to break in case of emergency? Do I want my car to brake in case of emergency? Do I want to avoid collisions in my blind spot? You bet. Do I want my car to autonomously re-enact “Driving Miss Daisy” with me riding shotgun? Not so much. This leads me to assess that if we lose sight of practical goals where technology solves real problems, the boundaries between “must have,” “nice to have,” and “fuggedaboudit” widen, and the promise for the Internet of Things becomes another disappointment.



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