Smart Everything: How a Digital World Makes Life Better For All

David Egger is Lead Marketing Manager for AT&T’s IRU (Individual Responsibility User) Mobility Programs. You can find more blog content from David and other experts on emerging technologies and mobile application on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

I love a good entrepreneurial idea, so I regularly spend time at Kickstarter, looking at projects that could be a whole new Fortune 500, or just something really cool I want for my bike. But one project really got me thinking about the future of technology within our products… and I’m not talking about products we usually associate with technology. Twine aims to provide a simple set of sensors with a WiFi connection in a 2.5” package to enable you to make various parts of your life smarter.

Twine aims to include a temperature sensor and accelerometer, but would also like to include a magnetic switch, moisture sensor and a breakout board to connect future sensors and provide wired power. It’s amazing to think such a small package could have so many sensors and allow for so much hardware intelligence, but remember that your smartphone has most of these, along with a big screen, powerful CPU and wireless radios.

These kind of miniaturized, low-power, low-cost sensors will enable a new gold rush of smart devices. We’ve seen dabbling in this kind of tech with remotely controlled devices through technologies like X10.  The real next wave is building intelligence into the devices themselves, so my thermostat can detect movement in the house and turn down the heat when no one is home and I forgot to turn it down.  I want my deep freezer to send me a text message if the GFCI outlet in my garage trips so I can take action before my turkey and frozen pizzas thaw.

I want a door lock that I can put in my duplex that will tell me if the door opens to a unit that isn’t occupied so thieves don’t run off with my power tools or copper pipe.  I want my car to detect rain coming down and close the convertible top for me while I’m stuck in a meeting and unable to deal with a sudden squall.  I could go on, but I don’t want to give away all the good ideas.

We are starting to see these products appear in the market.  The Nest thermostat getting there.  It uses a combination of smart software (learning your schedule and habits) with the ability to control it from anywhere to achieve some of the same goals.

What is your company doing about the revolution of smart products that will be hitting our marketplace over the next 5 years?  How can you build intelligent sensors and intelligent software into your products and services to provide a better experience to your customers, or provide better efficiency than your competitors?