Intelligent IoT Messaging for Smart Homes

This past week I presented a demo that showed how smart home technology can be easily controlled, and send notifications via standard messaging channels, such as SMS Text, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and more.

For my presentation, I showed a smart kitchen that was controlled by WhatsApp. I wanted to open the curtains, so I typed into my WhatsApp session “Open Curtain”. The system received my command via WhatsApp, translated it into machine language, and opened the curtains. I also received a confirmation in WhatsApp telling me that the curtain is now open.

I told the system to turn on the air conditioner, and it obediently followed my command. Then, I wanted to adjust the temperature, so I typed in 19 (the demo was setup for Celsius) and the air conditioner set itself to my desired temperature. The system has the intelligence to understand the context of what I entered. Since I just turned on the air conditioner, when I entered a number, it knew I was referring to the temperature.

I wanted to listen to some music, so I typed into WhatsApp “Turn on radio”. I was having the time of my life, when I received a notification from the air conditioner. It was letting me know that it sensed that no one was home and it was expending resources cooling an empty house. At that point, I had a decision to make. Do I want to save money and turn it off, or do I want to cool the house down so that it will be at a comfortable temperature by the time I come home. I opted to save money and typed “Turn off ac”. I then received a confirmation message letting me know that the air conditioner is now off.

Let’s discuss some other places where this technology would be a good fit:

1. Smart Hot Water Heaters — save money by not boiling water when you’re away from home.

2. Commercial Buildings — such as offices, hotels, apartment complexes — be notified when the room or building is empty so that you don’t waste money on resources that are not needed (such as lights, heat, air conditioning, hot water, etc.). Besides saving money, you can state that you are a “Green” building and that you’re helping to save the environment!

We can boil water with our smart kettle, and make coffee using our smart coffee maker, the same way. Just type a simple command into your messaging channel of choice, and the appliance obeys your command. A really cool thing to demo was the robot vacuum cleaner. I typed in “Turn robot on with turbo”, and the robot started cleaning the floor at full power! This same technology can also be used to control your smart robot lawn mower. Just text it a command to mow your lawn, and it’s out the door.

I then demonstrated our intelligent chatbot in action. I told the system to turn on the oven, but I did not provide it with complete information; meaning, I didn’t enter a temperature. The artificial intelligence powered chatbot responded, “Please provide a temperature.” I entered “250” (again, Celsius). The oven confirmed that it’s preheating to the desired temperature. Once again, I’d like to point out that this intelligent interaction with our smart kitchen took place over a simple WhatsApp chat!

I then typed in “Set an air quality alert” in case the person cooking dinner (who shall remain nameless) in our smart kitchen gets distracted and burns dinner. This will let people know to open windows and let the smoke out of the house! This kind of alerting can be useful in industries such as farming, agriculture, aquamarine farming, smart cities, and many others, where people can subscribe to air quality alerts, high/low temperature alerts, or water ph level imbalances, and can take action accordingly. For example, in indoor agriculture, you can shut off the grow lights if they are overheating. In aquamarine farming, you can shut down a tank if it develops a leak. Smart city citizens that may be impacted by poor air quality, can receive notifications to stay indoors.

Let’s shift to household applications. For those of us who manage households, how many times have you gone to the supermarket and wished you can just see what’s inside the refrigerator? Well, now you can! I asked the intelligent chatbot, “What’s in the fridge?” Instantly, I received a live photo of the inside of my refrigerator! How powerful is that?! Never again, do you have to make a decision to either buy milk (because you forgot to put it on the list) and risk wasting money, or NOT buy it and risk not having any milk when you get home. Now, you can actually see what’s inside the fridge, no matter how far away you are!

A few applications for this that come to mind are:

· Home Security — where you can get a real time picture of what’s happening inside your home or business.

· Border & Immigration — request pictures of what’s happening at your checkpoints.

· Banks — check up on your safety deposit boxes at the bank by requesting an instant picture. Banks can add this feature as a premium service.

· Telcos — can check on phone cross connects.

· Energy companies — can check on power substations.

Let’s move on to another benefit of our Intelligent IoT Messaging Technology — Voice Integration. The following was the most fun part of the demo. With regards to my fridge, I have a kid at home that knows how to open the fridge and pour himself a drink. The only challenge is that he doesn’t always remember to close the fridge! Has this ever happened to you, where you wake up in the morning and find the refrigerator open? Well, if this happened to you, here is what you can do about it. I texted my fridge, “Open fridge” to simulate a family member opening the fridge (without closing it). Now, imagine this. You’re driving down the highway and get a popup notification on your phone informing you that your fridge is open. You can’t pull over to open your refrigerator app, because there is no room to safely pull over. You also don’t want to text your refrigerator while driving, because that’s very dangerous. After attempting to call home and no one answering the phone (no surprise there), there is only one thing left to do:

Me: “Hey Siri.”

Siri: “What can I do for you?”

Me: “Send a WhatsApp message to MyFridge”.

Siri: “What would you like your message to say?

Me: “Close Fridge.”

Siri: “Here is your WhatsApp message to MyFridge — ‘Close Fridge’. Should I send the message?”

Me: “Yes!”

Siri: “Sent.”

Just like that, we all watched how the refrigerator door closed, like magic! “Congratulations”, I said. “You have now added Siri integration to your smart home technology!” The beauty of this is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel and build speech integration into your smart device, when the capability is already inherent to the platform you are using!

Another advantage to doing something like this than, say, an Alexa, is that Alexa is only usable within hearing distance. With Siri, you’ve just extended your IoT platform to cover the entire globe!

In conclusion, it’s really exciting to see all the different capabilities of today’s smart home technology, and the different ways it can be applied to different industries just by adding Intelligent IoT Messaging. My question for you is what steps are you taking in order to be able to extend the control of your IoT platform beyond its immediate vicinity?

About the Author

Avrohom is the founder of #AskTheCEO Media, where he helps businesses to be heard over the noise on social media by translating your company’s message into words your customers understand.

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