Imagine walking into a hotel room that’s already adjusted its temperature according to your personal preference before you arrive.
A tablet on the desk suggests the fastest route to your morning meetings after consulting the information stored in your online calendar and recommends nearby restaurants based on your previously indicated culinary preferences.
Personalizing the hospitality experience is just one of many promises of the burgeoning Internet of Things sector, which enables connected software and devices – such as a hotel’s online booking engine and the air conditioning system inside the room – to talk to one another.
“This is the next generation of communication,” said Adam Freed, one of the organizers of an upcoming Ottawa conference on the Internet of Things.
“Human-to-human and human-to-Internet were the first two. Now we’re getting to the point of machine-to-machine, which is going to take our society to the next level of safety and efficiency in everything we do.”
The second edition of IoT613 is scheduled for Sept. 29-30 at the Canadian Museum of Nature.
The conference kicks off with workshops covering both the technical and business side of the Internet of Things. Along with demonstrating the technology needed to develop a complete IoT product, attendees will also be guided through the steps of building and growing a small business.
That will be followed by several keynote speakers covering topics that include privacy and security as well as how the technology can be used to engage human interaction.
“We have to remember that there has to be a human in that (machine-to-machine) loop,” said Freed, who is also the chairperson of Computer Human Interaction in the National Capital of Canada, a non-profit professional organization.
Freed argues that Ottawa is already a hub for connected communication. The city is an established leader on the infrastructure side with companies such as Cisco and Nokia, which completed its purchase of Alcatel-Lucent earlier this year.
On the software side, QNX is a leader in the automotive sector and is developing various safety and communications systems that include a heads-up display that can show driving directions and flag hazards.
“What information is critical for the driver? (We’ve) made sure it was there when it was critical and it’s not there when it’s not needed,” Alex James, the technical lead of QNX’s concept development team, said in a corporate video.
Ottawa’s software talent pool has also attracted new companies, including Apple and Amazon Alexa, the app powering the e-commerce giant’s Echo smart speaker.