Startups, Cloud Computing & Embedded Devices
“Honey, did you change the thermostat?” It’s a question as old as interior heating itself, and its answer can mean the difference between a successful, long-term relationship and a partner who wakes up in the middle of the night sweating or freezing cold and regretting having ever laid eyes on you. So, when this question comes at us, we plod back out of the bedroom, blurry-eyed and half in our sleep shirts, to ensure that we did, in fact, remember to adjust the thermostat to proper sleeping temperature.
Since none of us will ever actually remember if we adjusted the thermostat before coming to bed, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just grab our tablets off the bedside table and check the thermostat’s temperature setting? With cloud computing and the potential for integration with embedded devices, such a world may not be a fantasy, or even all that far off.
Everyone in IT and most people in the business world are familiar with cloud computing, immediately thinking of companies like Rackspace when the term comes up. While the cloud is a marvel for businesses in itself, the application of ingenuity to the cloud opens up many new avenues for consumers.
Embedded Devices and Technology
Been to a coffee shop lately, or another small local business? If so, you may have witnessed the latest trend in cash registers – the distinct absence of them. Local, eco-friendly shops, liked the Crooked Tree CoffeeHouse in Dallas, are opting to ditch clunky cash registers for the sleeker look of an on-counter tablet. With a credit card attachment and a merchant account, the tablet has everything it needs to take payment by card. In lieu of stacks of paper receipts, the credit card data submitted on the tablet for payment goes – you guessed it – into the cloud, where receipts are filed digitally, saving on resources and behind-the-counter work.
On the home front, it’s alarm companies who have quickly adapted to the possibilities of the cloud. Home alarm systems no longer require operation from a panel inside the house, but can be controlled via computer or mobile device. System features, like video cameras, can also be operated remotely.
While some small companies are already ditching old embedded systems for the possibilities that come with cloud computing, large companies have been slow to utilize the cloud computing to its fullest potential. Instead, startups are taking the initiative to jump on these new technological advances.
Solar installation company Wattminder has been tinkering with cloud computing as it pertains to their own field, developing a program that allows them to monitor solar panels for faults before the panels cease to work completely. This monitoring system could prove useful to other solar power companies, as well as homeowners.
Cloud computing has also shown significant potential in digital sign displays. When connected to the cloud, digital sign displays could gather information from consumer electronic devices and change based upon the recovered data, much in the way that Internet ads use data gathered from your computer to determine which ads to display.
What Can It Do For Me?
The integration of computing devices with embedded devices may seem like a corporate-world technology – and will, no doubt, become a major player in the smooth operations of the world’s businesses – but it offers plenty of potential to enhance the lives of individual consumers as well.
Not only could it potentially save you the long walk back down the hall when your partner poses the thermostat question and help you manage your alarm system, cloud computing actually holds the potential to integrate all of a home’s systems. Imagine a home with devices so connected, you know as soon as your sprinkler system stops working or your washing machine has an error. Though such an integrated home environment isn’t common today, with cloud computing, it could well be the home of tomorrow.