These days, many seemingly ordinary objects are actually interconnected, "smart" devices. From the thermostat on your wall to the smartwatch on your wrist, many machines communicate, learn, and adapt. They all fall under the Internet of Things (IoT) category. By fusing data, artificial intelligence, and real-world applications, IoT is not just shaping technology; it's redefining how we live, work, and interact with the world around us. Whether it's a smart city optimizing traffic flow or a farmer harnessing data to nourish crops, the transformative potential of IoT is limited only by imagination, especially now that artificially intelligent applications are exploding in popularity and practicality.
IoT - "The Internet of Things"
So what is it exactly? The Internet of Things (IoT) is a comprehensive ecosystem where physical objects, ranging from household appliances to industrial machinery, are equipped with sensors, software, and connectivity. These IoT-enabled devices communicate and interact with each other over the Internet, collecting, analyzing, and sharing data. By fusing real-world applications with artificial intelligence and machine learning, IoT facilitates immediate decision-making and automation and catalyzes innovation and efficiency across diverse sectors.
IoT holds enormous product development potential because it enables real-time, data-driven decision-making and automation across diverse sectors. By leveraging sensor data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, IoT devices can analyze patterns and make predictions to adjust their behavior autonomously. It requires innovative product thinking and precision software development, which is exactly the sort of project our team loves to engage.
IoT Is Everywhere
Chances are, IoT devices already surround you. Some consumer examples you might be familiar with include smart thermostats that can be controlled remotely, wearable health trackers, smart home security systems, connected appliances that can be controlled and monitored from your smartphone, smart lighting systems, and connected vehicles. Commercial applications can be more complex, such as smart city infrastructure being deployed in urban areas to monitor traffic, manage waste, and optimize energy consumption. There are even agricultural IoT-enabled devices, including sensors that fuel precision farming by monitoring soil moisture, temperature, and crop health. As technology advances, more devices become “smart” thanks to IoT applications.
Dale Knauss, a ten-year veteran at Presence, has been a pivotal figure leading our IoT initiatives. With his passion for exploring the dynamic confluence of cutting-edge hardware and software, embracing the complexities of IoT has given him a unique glimpse into the future of smart devices. With a background in software, Dale was the top choice for our IoT partnership with Forme Life to develop their fitness mirror. "I loved working across disciplines with hardware, electrical, and firmware engineers. Not only did we develop the prototype that helped them achieve major funding, but we also helped them establish their software engineering team and ultimately the product they shipped to customers,” he recalls. Dale led their software engineering projects until they got their own VP of Software; Presence worked with the company as they grew from a few developers to dozens of developers across multiple disciplines. That’s one of the things Presence is proudly known for: helping teams uplevel and grow while developing foundational architecture, processes, and product designs for handoff.
Dale's attraction to IoT stems from its unique technical challenges and distinct influence on his approach to product development at Presence. "IoT product development includes more areas of uncertainty because there are more moving pieces, including actual physical parts," he explains. This complexity often results in software development happening toward the end of the project, making it essential to work ahead of where the project is at any given time. "In a recent project, the first thing we did was create a simulator so that we could begin testing instead of waiting for the hardware and firmware to be ready." This approach requires extra diligence and discipline, but the payoff is worth the effort: building robust, innovative products that work reliably.
IoT at Presence
What sets Presence apart in the burgeoning field of IoT technology development, according to Dale, is a potent mix of four elements: deep technical expertise; a design-focused approach (thanks to our collaborations with world-class design agencies); a user-centric mindset; and a strong commitment to partnership through communication and collaboration. These factors allow us to seamlessly integrate the additional complexity of IoT while delivering high-quality IoT-enabled products.
The Future of IoT and AI
As Dale sees it, the future holds enormous possibilities for the intersection of IoT and AI, or the Artificial Intelligence of Things (“AIoT”). He says, “As IoT devices get more powerful and AI gets leaner, we’ll see more devices with AI on the edge (on the device itself instead of in the cloud), so I expect more products with AI integrations that don’t have to have a networked environment; products that could work anywhere.” In particular, he’s watching for IoT/AIoT applications in renewable energy solutions, similar to our work modeling solar installations and regulating energy storage. Everything, everywhere, all at once? AIoT enables real-time data processing and data-based automatic decision-making. This means that AIoT devices can quickly respond to changes in their environment and take appropriate actions, whether it's a smart home application responding to occupant behavior or a solar panel reacting to weather patterns.
AIoT Predictions and Recommendations
Considering the decreasing cost of hardware and the AI advances revolutionizing IoT technologies, Dale expects more companies will come up with fresh ideas for IoT/AIoT devices and hire or partner strategically to help bring those ideas into reality. His advice for any company considering developing an IoT/AIoT device is to bring on communicative, technical experts early in the process. It takes effective communication and collaboration across time zones and industry terminologies to develop integrated, high-quality IoT/AIoT-enabled hardware and software products.
As we venture into an increasingly connected future, Presence is excited to develop new high-quality IoT/AIoT products at the forefront of innovation. With experts like Dale Knauss at the helm and our experience bringing complex digital product challenges to market, we look forward to pioneering new solutions that transform industries, enrich lives, and pave the way for a smarter, more interconnected world.