The Internet of Things



“The Internet of Things is far bigger than anyone realizes” according to Daniel Burris in Wired .


As business or community leaders, you will be seeing more situations where machines talk to machines?  Is it important?  I think so.   And so does Growing the North:   the 7th annual Growing the North Conference is back February 17-18 with another impressive lineup of expert speakers including an Internet of Things (IofT) presentation by TELUS.

Machine-to-machine communications is about accessing and using data to make more informed decisions and that is where business is headed.   IofT is about networks of data-gathering sensors that measure and evaluate.  And where it plays out is when machines and sensors are connected to do something smarter, more efficient and effective than has been done before.

The TELUS IofT presentation will include examples of the hospital of tomorrow, just like the new regional hospital being currently constructed in Grande Prairie.


Advances in IofT are encouraging innovators to look at new innovative ideas in their businesses about what and how machines can communicate with each other.  What is interesting about this is, when the innovator presents such a new concept it is easy to understand why it is such a great idea and how the idea will reduce the costs of doing business for potential buyers.  It just makes sense.

I thought that the Internet of Things was leading edge stuff and it is and isn’t.  My favorite starting point for exploring a new subject matter is Wikipedia, it explains IofT’s early history back to 1982 when a modified Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University reported its inventory and whether newly loaded drinks were cold.  It has been around for over 30 years and today we are thinking it’s new.  That is how innovations often work.  It has been there but we don’t see it until WHAM: it is being estimated that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.

So what is it and why should you consider hearing about it at Growing the North?


The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing networks.  These Smart Devices are expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields.  It can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, bio-chip transponders on farm animals, automobiles with built-in sensors, field operation devices that assist firefighters and inventory control.

Where they are now?  Look around your home, could be a smart thermostat.

A key component to advancing the IofT has been the development of minuscule identifying devices or machine-readable identifiers or chips.  Add a reader or sensor and relay the data to a software program, hit engage and out pops this intelligence that helps the reader make better decisions.  Wear one on your wrist and immediately know how your heart is doing.

IofT products can be classified broadly into five different categories: smart wearable, smart home, smart city, smart environment, and smart enterprise.

What is the value?  Attend the conference on February 17-18 and learn.


IofT is and will continue to accelerate innovation in the region.  We are working with a group of municipalities and small business service providers to explore such emerging opportunities under a regional innovation network concept.  The concept builds on Centre for Research & Innovation at GPRC as a champion and facilitator of applied research and innovation in the region.  More about the evolution of innovation in the Peace Country, in one of my next blogs.

Whether it is regional innovation networks, IofT or Growing the North, it is about change.  It is about moving innovative ideas forward to better influence and manage change.

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