I first saw TV ads for Google Glass while in Orlando for RIFD Journal LIVE! (more about the conference in a future post). About what you'd exepct from Google - an imaginative glimpse into the future of computing and human interaction.
I have to admit I didn't make the immediate connection between Google's view of the future and the Internet of Things. But Mark Beccue of ABI Research did, and it is an intersting read - see the full copy of Mark's piece here and let us (and Mark) know what you think.
Google Glass: A Glimpse Into The Internet of Things?
Posted Tue, 10 Apr 2012 11:10:00 EDT by Mark Beccue
Last week, Google announced Project Glass, an ambitious project to feed on-demand, real time data onto eyeglasses http://bit.ly/HeSg62. The project has produced skepticism and mocking, both of which I think are unjustified. Google is merely nudging us along to an eventuality - the click less, swipe less web interface and the internet of things.
Last year, I wrote a report on mobile augmented reality http://bit.ly/hycWOK in which we found that many enterprising companies are seeking to expand the internet to become even more useful than it is today. Visionaries at companies like Google, Intel, Metaio, and DoCoMo http://bit.ly/AyGQuz believe there will be a day when we can attach data, graphics, audio or video to objects such as buildings, vehicles, machinery or a location. This data could then be accessed using augmented reality technology - either through a smartphone app through which you would see or hear the data as you looked at the object, or eventually through glasses.
While today we are seeing the emergence of smartphone apps and AR, there are lots of challenges before any of this happens for eyewear. Applications would require filters because of information overload - our brains can't handle too much data at one time. One solution in that respect could be you as a consumer choose the apps you would like to run through your eyewear, just as smartphone users choose apps and run them today on their phones. Industrial and military uses of augmented reality eyewear produce significant eye fatigue. And how would eyewear and smartphones peacefully coexist over time? And then there are issues around attaching data to things -- indoor AR today is limited because of GPS, and image recognition requires huge, cross-referenced databases.
But it is easy to see why Google is so interested. Search expands when internet expands, and where search goes, so goeth Google.
I believe Google will showcase Google Glass to promote the technology and look to eyewear and smartphone makers to make eyewear eventually. They will potentially make eyewear (with a partner), but as with Google phone and new Google branded tablet, Google knows the key is to make click less touch less web interface and the internet of things universal.
--end ABI article
Google Wallet has drawn a lot of attention to the act of making purchases with the tap of a smart phone. It’s considered the first NFC mobile wallet system that, with the SingleTap feature, conducts the transaction, redeems coupon offers and earns loyalty points, all in one step. Visa has said that their payWave system will work with Google Wallet and American Eagle Outfitters, Macy’s, Toys“R”Us and Jamba Juice have stated that they will accept Google’s SingleTap payment in some of their locations.
Using smart phones as wallets is not a new concept, but momentum seems to be growing. In fact just a few weeks ago, Intel and MasterCard announced their alliance to offer a better experience for online shopping. Part of their aim is to provide a safer and simpler checkout process for consumers using devices. If the number of smart phone options and support from financial institutions are any indication, this form of RFID will soon become an integral part of the consumer experience – potentially transforming the retail market.
It will be interesting to see if some shoppers lose control of their spending because of the ease of tapping a phone instead of being forced to take cash out of their wallets or signing a credit card slip. It may be those extra motions that make consumers think twice about whether or not they really need to buy that item.
Is it only a matter of time before we’re all buying our groceries, clothes and gas with digital dollars? Will there come a day when future generations don’t know what paper money is and goods are purchased thought the exchange of virtual credits?
I’ve bought into the convergence of my phone, MP3 player, rolodex, newspaper, video game system, calendar, camera, and much more, into a single device that I carry in my pocket, but for now I’m sticking to the good ol’ American dollar, bread, buck, clam, dough, frogskins, greenbacks, loot, bones, coin, folding stuff, moolah, spondoolies, wonga…
Or Will Google Cars Solve the World’s Traffic Problems?
RFID is used throughout many aspects of the production and use of automobiles. By no means an exhaustive list, RFID is used to improve production logistics, automate access control and parking, secure border roadways, automate toll collection, support car share programs, manage traffic flow, facilitate electric car payments, and track tools in construction vehicles.
With all of these processes made possible or enhanced by RFID, one has to wonder if RFID tags will some day become standard identifiers in all cars – much like a VIN number or license plate. This topic has been discussed for some time with legal and privacy rights taking the forefront of the conversation - and rightly so. One potential and controversial use of RIFD in vehicles and on the roadside is designed to allow authorities to automate the monitoring of intersections and issue tickets without having to be on the scene. Video and CCTV cameras are already being used for this purpose and RFID pilots have been conducted. Honestly, I’m on the fence on this one. I’d surely like to be able to plead my case to the officer on the scene. However, I’d also like the repeat offenders who speed past the ‘Watch for Children’ signs on my street to be severely and repeatedly fined, but the police in my neighborhood have been unwilling to conduct 24x7 surveillance!
Or maybe we don’t have to worry about any of this because Google is developing cars that drive themselves. Using video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder, Google cars will take us where we need to go, safely and efficiently, and presumably within the speed limit and in compliance with all traffic laws. Problems solved, right? My commute will be shorter and while along for the ride I can use Google search on my Google phone and maybe watch a little Google TV before I’m automatically checked in at my destination using Google Places – anywhere on Google Earth.
All kidding aside, Google’s intentions are noble. They believe self-driving cars can cut in half the 1.2 million lives lost each year in road traffic accidents and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing how we use transportation.
So where are you on all of this? Would you be OK with an RFID infrastructure deployed in your neighborhood for traffic control? How about on the highways? What are your thoughts about Google cars? Do the safety benefits proposed by Google outweigh the potential requirements to disclose more information about your personal travel?
Smart products fuse together electronics, software, sensors and network connections to provide a wide range of new capabilities. Smart objects can:
- Measure, sense, see and report on their surroundings
- Respond to changes in their environment
- Interact with other smart objects, people, and IT systems in entirely new ways
- Adapt to the unique needs of businesses and people
From trucks that can track what’s in them to critical care medical devices that know exactly where they are in crowded hospitals, smart objects are changing how we build and use products.
Microsoft, IBM and Google all recognize the growing role smart objects are playing in our lives. Microsoft’s Vision for 2019 video shows a world of flexible displays, touch screens and seamless data integration across smart objects that recognize and respond to one another and to the world around them.
Google talks about the Next Internet being a place where connected smart objects constantly exchange information and adjust and act based on the needs of the user.
IBM’s view is "The planet will be instrumented, interconnected, intelligent."
Many smart objects of the near future will comprise one or more wireless technologies to connect their state to the internet. At ThingMagic, we believe that ultimately, passive and semi-passive RFID will define the largest segment of this -- because these radios do not require batteries or can parasitically draw power from their environment -- all objects which do not have sources of power (the majority of objects humans create) have the potential to be tagged.
We are inventing and producing technology that helps give smart objects their intelligence. Our RFID readers, for example, act analogously to a WiFi router for laptops and smartphones, by connecting objects to the network and provide the ability to identify and track assets. And, in our labs, we are working on sensor technologies that will give objects the ability to analyze and respond to their environment without human intervention.
Smart objects can change the world for the better. Focusing of our food supply for a moment, think of the truck that knows when spinach has been contaminated by E. coli even before it arrives at the next distribution point. In the home, people have spoken for many years about the milk telling your fridge to re-order itself due to spoilage or short supply. We are finally at a cusp in time where this could be possible AND economically feasible.
It is an exciting vision. And a vision that we are proud and excited to be part of.