“Toaster is hangry” – The internet of things


There was a time where giving a voice to an inanimate object would be seen as strange and unusual. Social media came along and allowed for people to interact and connect with other people from all around the world – creating a virtual community. Social media (Twitter) and these communities being built led way for people to create accounts that did not represent a person, but an object or a thing.

Looking at Twitter there is an account that represents the Big Ben Clock in London. Every hour on the hour a tweet is made that has 1 – 12 “BONG” in it, representing the hour of day it is, this is all the account does.

BIG ben BONG BIG ben bongingThe Big Ben Twitter account is controlled by a person, but what if it was controlled by Big Ben itself – the clock tower. This can be a possibility. Introducing the “Internet of things” described as giving “things” the power to communicate over networks without the need for human interaction.

The difference from people bringing life into an object much like the Big Ben clock and giving an object life is the independence and freedom that the object has. The Big Ben clock deals with a person Tweeting for it, the Internet of Things does not have the human part. To get objects to have a presence on the internet and other networks it is with the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. The RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can be programmed to track any condition.

The use of RFID’s with objects has given way to the Internet of Things. Objects are being engaging with people and other objects. Julian Bleecker writes in “Why Things Matter” that the Internet of Things allows for objects to have a presence on social media to become a more engaging area of social media. When it comes to giving objects the power to communicate with anyone and anything – to have a voice, then there is a need to question the representation of what people perceive as “just an object” and its physical space.


3 responses »

  1. The example of the Big Ben Twitter feed was really interesting and, I feel, explained the whole topic of The Internet of Things very clearly and very simply. While I really enjoyed your post I would have liked to have heard your opinion on the ethics of The Internet of Things like many of the other bloggers provided. I feel we may be becoming too connected and the points brought up in this
    article really resonate with me

  2. When you first look at the internet of things and you hear people say that we could connect big Ben to twitter you say whats the point of that? but then you think about the ways it is being utilized such as in cars that can tell you when the tires need more air then it makes more sense. The use of RFIDS to allow objects to collect data could completely change technology as we know it.

  3. Your comments about the Big Ben Twitter account got me thinking about computer generated journalism (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/business/computer-generated-articles-are-gaining-traction.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) Particularly in sport stories, data from games can be put into a generator and a story can be produced within minutes. What we expect to stay as human activity, the “thought process” of writing that seemed unlikely to be replaced, as already become a reality.

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