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Technology: When smart homes and communications meet

The Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses a lot of cross-sections for different industries. One of the most interesting to think about is where the smart home intersects with communications.


By Dana Blouin

Monday 9 February 2015, 10:00AM


While there is a lot of hype about the consumer products for the smart home, like connected refrigerators and microwaves, something that is often overlooked is how the smart home will leverage IoT technology to facilitate change in the way we communicate.

As more items in our homes become connected to the internet we are able to use them in more unique and interesting ways. Right now, we mostly interact with these devices by controlling them or collecting data from them for our own use. While these products are great, and go a long way to improve how we interact with our homes and utilise the objects around us, they do not enhance how we communicate.

But there are some objects that do.

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One product that caught my eye recently is the Blueberry Wall (www.blueberrywall.com); this is a photo frame that contains a grid of photos, each overlaying a touch sensor and is linked back to a mobile app. The idea here is to give the frame as a gift to a loved one and, when you think of them, you can send them a message through the app. When you do, their frame lets them know by illuminating its back lighting to let the owner know that you were thinking of them, communicating to them through the frame itself in a simple and streamlined way.

Similarly, they can send a message direct to you by touching one of the photos delivering a message to the phones app, letting the user know which photo they are thinking about at the moment. Since the item is linked between just two people directly, the context in the communication is built-in. Touch a picture and the message that you are thinking of someone or miss them is delivered, simple but effective.

I don’t think these types of devices will replace mobile phones as our primary form of communication, but it’s a great supplement at this point. Being able to receive a simple but effective message through an everyday object is just one way the IoT is changing our lives.
Until next time, stay connected.

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