Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Forget home automation, what about office automation

The latest wave of Internet of Things thinking has firmly pushed a mix of protocols into the spotlight.
Zigbee, Z-wave and Insteon + hubs are against wifi, bluetooth and the raspberry pi/ardunio.

USB devices make the rpi effective in bridging the gaps, and projects like the thing system put the same Web based power within easy reach. 

Cloud services begin to make things really interesting by putting storage, remote actions and more within the reach of your smart phone. This convergence is great, when you hear about it. Then you realize your house is unique, and there isn't much to automate.

I am lucky enough to be in an organization that is shifting heavily to a web based core business application; while at the same time undertaking a shift to Google Apps for business.  The combination of mature smart devices and cloud services are going to change how we communicate,  collaborate and work; for the better.

But what happens when your web team with a devops focus can be given phone systems like Asterix, or complete control over the office hardware?
Things get a little bit interesting when you realise your entire workforce ends up in a polite surveillance society - one of machines and business logic that knows when you arrive at work; potentially your comfort level; and can reroute your calls if you step away or have a meeting scheduled.

The idea of a smart printer (ala Google cloud print) that also predicts being out of paper [rather than just ink], inventory control systems that assemble your resupply orders through barcode scanning (if it works for a fridge it will work for office supplies), and just makes the office administrativia a non issue is well within reach.

One of the big revolutions of the web 2.0 era was the transition to the geoweb. The IaaS revolution is finally delivering benefits en masse; so is SaaS.

The IoT presence and sensor evolution is gaining hype; and feels as though it's approaching a point where cloud based servers can feasibly burn a large amount of compute time to work out if you want a coffee today, from your NoQ enabled store or not.

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