As Dubai welcomes RoboCop, drones land in the palm of your hand and cars park themselves, are we getting carried away with ‘maybes’?
This week saw a plethora of tangible internet of things (IoT) developments, which is actually a rarity when looking at this space.
For example, in Dubai, the city’s police force has recruited its latest member: a robot police officer. Weighing in at 100kg and measuring 170cm in height, the robot will patrol the city’s streets, offering advice to those who need it.
The robot’s hardware will enable it to scan a person’s face to determine their emotions from up to 1.5 metres away, then changing its mood accordingly to help them.
In the event of a crime, its facial recognition software will record a criminal’s face and live-stream it back to police headquarters.
Elsewhere, DJI, one of the largest manufacturers of drones, revealed its Spark mini drone this week, destined to be your selfie-taking friend.
Interestingly, the company claims that this particular creation can even work without a controller or a smartphone – all you need is your hand. The drone reacts to how a user manipulates their hand as it flies in the air, takes a picture and returns back to their palm.
But will drones ultimately dominate our entire surveillance structures? Many believe so, but there are concerns.
What else did you miss this week?
IoT: No room for strugglers
While ‘IoT’ is the buzzword for forward-thinking in technology, ‘attrition’ is perhaps more fitting.
A new report from Cisco found that more than one-third of all IoT projects fail to get beyond the proof-of-concept phase, with marginally more than one-quarter becoming a success.
“It’s not for lack of trying. But there are plenty of things we can do to get more projects out of pilot and to complete success, and that’s what we’re here in London to do,” said Rowan Trollope, Cisco’s SVP and GM of IoT.
The study showed how strong an effect ‘human factors’ can have on the success of projects, with everything from culture to leadership pivotal in the early stages of development. Elsewhere, going it alone was highlighted as a big problem.
“We are seeing new IoT innovations almost every day,” said Inbar Lasser-Raab, VP of Cisco products and solutions marketing for enterprise. “We are connecting things that we never thought would be connected, creating incredible new value to industries.
“But where we see most of the opportunity is where we partner with other vendors and create solutions that are not only connected but also share data. That shared data is the basis of a network of industries – sharing of insights to make tremendous gains for business and society, because no one company can solve this alone.”
Apple HomeKit gains a new trick
Apple’s HomeKit is up against it. Amazon’s Echo, Google Home and a growing number of rivals are either already established, or pushing the boundaries of the connected home.
However, compatibility is key at the moment, in what appears to be a race between companies trying to get everything connected as soon as possible.
Wemo’s popular smart light switches are now compatible, meaning owners of HomeKit can control the lights by asking Siri.
“Wemo is offering this bridge to address the overwhelming request from customers to make currently installed Wemo products work with HomeKit and other HomeKit compatible products,” said Brian Van Harlingen, CTO of Belkin, the company behind Wemo.
“We’re proud to work with Apple to bring together two of the most influential smart home platforms.
“The Wemo Bridge will allow current and future Wemo users to experience the benefits of HomeKit, including Siri integration and interoperability with other HomeKit devices, while also leveraging all the Wemo features customers enjoy.”
Robots to park your car
The most daunting aspect of learning to drive is parking. Multistorey car parks are terrifying, with parallel parking an impossibility of physics. But what if modern technology could take away the headache?
Stanley Robotics, a French start-up, raised €3.6m this week to build robots that pick up your car at the entrance of a parking lot and do the job for you.
Kind of like automated forklifts, they are designed to work in a similar way to valet parking assistants. Who said robots wouldn’t be taking jobs?
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