Mobile World Congress 2017 wrapped up on Thursday, bringing a close to the seemingly infinite exposition of mobile and wireless technologies. From what you would expect in wireless base stations, antennas and what seems like a bazillion handset vendors, the event is also home to a wide range of network and mobile applications. As a self-professed Internet of Things and home automation “junkie”, this was a chance to feed my addiction and see what was possible for both my home and in the spring house that feeds our shared water system at our recreational property on Rushford Lake.
First stop on my IoT quest was Hall 4 and the Connected Living demonstrations in GSMA Innovation City. Here AT&T sponsored a wide range of home automation devices including the usual collection of door sensors, water sensors, door locks and cameras. Connected over WiFi from a centralized “hub”, consumers can automate many of the home security and automation tasks. The down-side with these systems is that they are a closed system, depending on a single manufacturer for all the elements. Don’t like the way a sensor works? Tough. Want to integrate a unique device from a different vendor? No such luck. The benefit to the consumer is that hopefully the system has been pre-tested and avoids many of the integration hassles. My take: An interesting option for those buyers that looking to get started at an affordable cost and don’t have much expectation beyond the basics.
With the event winding down on Thursday, I took a chance to explore the far reaches of the massive halls, including the mysterious lower level of Hall 8.0. Far from the main spine of the show, Hall 8.0 is where start-ups and new-comers often end up. Wearable technology, wireless payment, drones and IoT makers fill what seems like a basement. Yes, that’s where the “really cool stuff” was. Here I found a number of industrial and commercial IoT vendors who were exhibiting a much broader range of sensors and controls. Typically built for factory and harsh environments, the equipment being shown here would surely be a lot more expensive than consumer grade, but a lot more likely to survive in the persistent wet environment found in our spring house. Water flow gauges, pressure sensors, fluid level sensors, cameras – it was all here and in water-proof and rugged packaging. Time to start collecting datasheets and business cards.
While sifting through the devices, one small collection of devices caught my eye – they looked like mouse traps?!? Wait – they are mouse traps! Not just any mouse traps, but wireless IoT-enabled mouse, rat and large rodent traps! As explained by the now exhausted rep behind the counter, they are intended for commercial exterminators, sending a signal once tripped that they need to be cleared of their prey and reset. As Dan York kidded when he saw the picture online – the “Internet of Dead Things” was born. Now I had seen it all.
Back at the Dialogic booth, our demonstration of Dialogic ONE, a prototype application that integrates IoT systems was even more clear – I can easily envision that consumers and commercial users of IoT will find value in having dashboards that integrate information and control across vendors and locations.
I left MWC feeling that my addiction may just be starting…look out mice!