Internet of things blog Hassan Ali

Opening Doors, Signing In, Making Coffee

By Hassan Ali

One dark, cold, rainy morning, I found myself running late for a daily company meeting due to slow-moving traffic. Once to my destination, I pulled into the office parking lot, grabbed my laptop and no less than four additional devices sitting on my passenger seat. This load of gadgets left my hands unavailable to pull open the front door of the building. Rearranging my ‘cargo’ in the pouring rain wasted my precious waning minutes before the meeting. Now I’m wet, cold and angry. Grrr.

Despite my (silent) bargaining with the door (please, please, oh please open?!), it remains closed. I must have been quite a sight to those with offices along the windowed entrance. My soggy predicament got me thinking: realistically, the front door should have known who I was based on the electronic key fobs all employees are required to carry, allowing secure automated access to the building. But, why stop there? My desktop computer should also identify me and sign into my digital workspace when I approach my desk. That certainly would be nice.

Just five minutes remained before the meeting which allowed me enough time to grab a cup of coffee from the office kitchen. However once in the kitchen, I learned that my favorite flavored coffee; known for its quick alleviation of my early-morning crankiness is all gone. Naturally I think: the coffee machine and its storage container should be able to check the contents and renew orders based on the availability automatically. No one should have to go through the day without a cup of caramel coffee. That’s just not right.

The IoT to the rescue?

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows objects to be tracked while supplying useful information to engineers, who in turn automate processes that make regular daily activities far more efficient and cost effective. Automation, data collection, energy saving and building management are predicted to be the IoT main focus in the business industry. Experts estimate the IoT will account for “6.4 billion connected ‘things’ in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015,” and “total service spending around $235 billion with $2 trillion of economic benefit by 2020.” (Gartner)

How will this affect the printing world?

Imagine machines that alert you to their location when a print job has been completed— If you’re like me, you won’t miss the inevitable scavenger hunt that follows clicking the ‘print’ button on your device. Expect the placement of printers, photocopiers, and scanners to be based on device usage and employee traffic flow. Forget the dreaded ‘low toner’ alert, because the reordering of paper supplies, inks, and parts will be completed automatically at the best calculated price point. While Tricerat already simplifies the lives of IT admins especially in the printing world, further ‘tapping’ into the Internet of Things will take simplification and efficiency to the next level. Now we can always have flavored coffee on-hand when we need it.

Sources Pettey, Christy. “The Internet of Things and the Enterprise.” Gartner, August 31 2015.