brita pitcherIt’s sometimes referred to as the second generation of the Internet, but what exactly is IoT? The Internet of Things (IoT) is supposed to greatly expand the reach of the Internet and the networks that enable it, by networking just about anything with electricity (through a battery or otherwise). You’ve probably seen the predictions – 10, 20, even 50 billion connections by 2020.

Beyond the obvious devices of smartphones, tablets, smart meters, and wearables, I often wonder what else is in that 50 billion. I mean in practical terms.

I found a great example with Brita’s new ‘smart’ water pitcher. Yes an everyday water pitcher. With a wi-fi connection. Amazon and Brita have partnered together to offer a water pitcher that will sense when its water filter needs replacement. The water pitcher will then automatically order a replacement water filter from Amazon, via wi-fi, and have it delivered to your door.

This IoT application is part of Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service (DRS). With DRS, many household items from laundry detergent to water filters can be automatically ordered and shipped from Amazon, with little or no human involvement. It’s a practical IoT application at work.

But these early IoT applications aren’t cheap. That ‘smart’ water pitcher costs $45. Its replacement filter is an additional $6. That compares with $21 for a normal ‘dumb’ water pitcher ($4 for its replacement filter), and that doesn’t count the battery.

So you pay a 114% premium for the privilege of having your water pitcher order its own filter for you. Worth it? Maybe for some. The cool factor alone may be worth it. Imagine the water cooler conversation superiority benefit – “my water pitcher orders its own filter, can yours do that?”

The prices for these IoT applications will surely come down over time. Is this a glimpse into the future of IoT? Maybe. End consumers will be the ultimate decider. But at least for now, I have a little more clarity on what exactly is IoT.

Join the Conversation

2 thoughts on “What Exactly is IoT? Here’s a Practical Example

  1. This is a reminder of what a smart company Amazon is. Remember when they just sold books? The company's real specialty though is, more broadly, selling things online. And they always seem to get in on developing new technology options early, as they are doing here with the automatic replenishment service.
    The other thought that occurs to me about this is that it's another reason for someone to buy Amazon Prime, which offers free shipping, along with other benefits — including OTT video and audio — for a yearly fee. The extra cost for the fancy filters would be more palatable if they were shipped for free.

  2. Our company, Musco Sports Lighting, has quietly been at leading edge of the Internet of Things for the best part of 15 years. Our lighting control and monitoring system and service, Control Link, checks on the status of light fixtures, ballast systems, and electrical load relays and alerts our service and warranty teams whenever any of these components require servicing or replacement. Plus it provides us the ability to produce real-time usage reports for the facilities fitted with our systems. It is a key component of our services that has allowed us to offer our customers a '20+ years, you don't touch it' service warranty on our lighting systems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don’t Miss Any of Our Content

What’s happening with broadband and why is it important? Find out by subscribing to Telecompetitor’s newsletter today.

You have Successfully Subscribed!