15th February 2022

Internet of Things (IoT)

Is your home a smart home? Welcome to the Internet of Things (IoT). All around the world, billions of physical devices are now connected to the internet. That enables them to talk to each other – and us. Passionate about technology in general and the IoT in particular, Christophe Medinger is Deputy Head of Digitalisation at Spuerkeess. In this interview, he tells us more about the Internet of Things (IoT).

1. What is the Internet of Things?

"IoT", or the "Internet of Things", is a term that covers all technologies that connect physical devices to the Internet in its broadest sense. It uses the same technology that made computers and the Internet a success in today’s world – for instance, Wi-Fi protocols, Bluetooth, etc.

Some of the best-known examples of smart devices include Alexa, Phillips Hue bulbs, car navigation systems, and all Smart Home-style controllers and sensors, such as central heating or shutters that can be controlled via a smartphone app. If we take the example of a video surveillance camera, the principle behind them is more or less the same for all types. The camera features a Wi-Fi chip, and typically the supplier provides users with an app that helps them to register the camera on their home Wi-Fi network. Once the camera is registered it can be accessed via the app and users can remotely monitor their pets, for example.

2. Is our data secure?

Naturally, manufacturers have to comply with data protection law, which gives users a certain level of reassurance. However, it is important to be aware that if you buy a surveillance camera and the system allows the videos to be saved to the supplier’s server, there is always the risk that it could be hacked, with the data (video) being released into the wild.

Alexa’s algorithms understand what you say, which means that everything said within earshot of an Alexa can be found on the supplier’s server. It is important to be aware that this type of data is used by the supplier to "segment" customers so they can improve their customer service and, thus, increase salesa

3. Why should we adopt this technology?

Among the many and diverse reasons to adopt this technology, the IoT is:

  • lifesaving: A smart watch that detects cardiac irregularities can avoid or reduce the risk of a fatal heart attack. The sensors in our cars help us  avoid accidents by communicating with each other. The benefits are undeniable.

  • useful: Heating systems and shutters that are activated based on the weather conditions and can be controlled via a smartphone make our lives easier and optimise our energy consumption.

  • fun: Asking Alexa to play your favourite playlist or answer all sorts of questions has become a very entertaining pastime.

  • helpful for manual tasks: robot vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers.

  • affordable: as microchips have become more affordable, smart devices are now available to everyone.

4. And for companies?

The IoT has sometimes had difficulties getting established in the business world. Surveillance cameras and smart badges that track employees are still topics to be discussed with staff representatives. However, NFC chips or even simple bar codes on deliveries optimise supply chains by tracking their routes and can even be used to trigger automatic payments when items are received.

IoT at the workplace must therefore  respect the privacy rights of both employees and customers.

5. In conclusion, what are your five useful tips around the Internet of Things?

5 useful tips for the Internet of Things:

1. When using a smart device, be aware that the data will be collected by someone – so make sure not to put a surveillance camerain a sensitive location.

2. If you’re motivated by statistics and graphs, you can follow  your progress of your physical activity via a smart watch or a chip in your shoes. Studies show that even a simple step counter can motivate people to walk more. The technology has become affordable.

3. Transform your home into a smart home. The possibilities are endless: smart heating, shutters and lighting aren’t simply useful ways to save money, but they also help the environment.

4. Use robots to make your life easier: smart lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners save precioustime

5. …but don’t throw yourself at every connected device – inventions like Bluetooth toothbrushes are in my opinion still looking for a real purpose.

Did you know?

The IoT is being used more and more within Spuerkeess, where biometric signing of documents using a stylus on a tablet has been in place for a long time. Smart watch payments (FitBit, Garmin and Apple Watch) are also available to our customers and other projects are currently being studied, such as the use of Echo Dot devices. 


Alexa, how much do I have in my current account?

With Amazon GO (Amazon Go - Wikipedia), which offers cashierless supermarkets, and DeepBlue technology (DeepBlue Vending Machine (Large) - DeepBlue Technology (deepblueai.com)), which offers smart drinks vending machines, the future of IoT seems very promising for the banking sector.

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