At the recent CIC "Getting in the Flow"conference Peter Morville discussed many interesting topics. One that caught my ear was the concept of an "Internet of Objects."
One of the examples he provide were devices being market by the company Ambient Devices, including the Ambient Clock and the Ambient Orb ( pictured ). The former provides a glancable view of a Google calendar while the later changes color based on changes to the stock market or the weather. While these are more fun than practical there are some interesting Internet objects already out there.
There is a line of Internet connected refrigerated stoves manufactured by TMIO. One can connect to the stove using any web browser (or cell phone) and make changes to the settings. There are two models that are refrigerated. Food can be placed he stove for cool storage. The owner can instruct it to begin cooking then re-cool the food when finished. While most people are likely to view an Internet connected stove as being pure luxury today, I suspect that in five years most of our major appliances will have some sort of networked presence.
There are some very practical uses for this type of technology. Another example that Peter provided was a hospital that put RFID tags on all its wheelchairs. Using a Cisco wireless location appliance they were able to keep track of where the chairs were located. The hospital calculated that it saved them $28,000 a month by recovering time spent hunting for the chairs.
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