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The Internet of things: HomeKit

Generally speaking, the Internet of Things refers to the networked interconnection of everyday objects, which are often equipped with ubiquitous intelligence. The Internet of Things will increase the ubiquity of the Internet by integrating every object for interaction via embedded systems, which leads to a highly distributed network of devices communicating with human beings as well as other devices. Thanks to rapid advances in underlying technologies, Internet of Things is opening tremendous opportunities for a large number of novel applications that promise to improve the quality of our lives (Xia et al, 2012). Analysts at Gartner (2015) have forecasted that by the end of 2015 almost 5 billion ‘things’ are connected to the Internet. By the end of 2025 they expect that 25 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet.

Companies are using and integrating the Internet of Things to create new customer experiences and attract more customers. One might argue that the Internet of Things is the future for companies nowadays.

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Apple has recently released HomeKit. This is a framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home. With this you can transform your home to a so-called ‘smart home’ or ‘connected home’. With the HomeKit application users can serve almost everything in their house, from the lighting to the locks to the heating system, it can all be arranged with one application.

HomeKit can be integrated by developers in (existing) applications and products. It does not matter who fabricated the domestic products, if the HomeKit software is integrated, they can all communicate with the HomeKit app. By doing this Apple resolves a huge practical problem. Before HomeKit, every single smart ‘thing’ communicated with it’s own application, which made it almost impossible to work together with other ‘things’.

Users can even use HomeKit with the help of Siri. They simply have to give spoken instructions to Siri and Siri will make sure that the lights will dim, or that the heating goes up. It is even possible to say what you are up to, and these smart devices instantly know what kind of settings you prefer. For example, if you say the words: “I am going to bed”, Siri will make sure that all the lights are off, the door is locked, and the heating is set lower.

The main benefit of HomeKit is that it provides one interface that you can use to serve every smart device in your home and even connect the different smart devices from different developers with each other. Until the launch of HomeKit this was not possible. I am very curious to see how this will develop even further due to the fact that Apple is already working together with the world’s largest producers of smart devices.

Sources:

https://developer.apple.com/homekit/

http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/internet-of-things/

http://www.iculture.nl/dossiers/homekit/

Xia, F., Yang, L. T., Wang, L., & Vinel, A. (2012). Internet of things. International Journal of Communication Systems, 25(9), 1101.

Fastned: building the world’s first network of fast charging stations where all electric cars can charge

The auto industry is rapidly changing. Electric Vehicles are the future. At this moment 62,287 registered electric vehicles are driving on the road, but the development of the growth is exponential (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, 2015).

Development of registered electric vehicles in the Netherlands

According to the strategy firm Roland Berger (2015) 50% of the cars will be using traditional engines with gasoline or diesel in 2025. The other 50% will be either electric (EV) or hybrid vehicles. AON (2010), a financial service provider, reported that there are 8 million registered cars in the Netherlands, an easy calculation states that there will be at least 4 million registered electric or hybrid vehicles by 2025 driving on the Dutch road.

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Fastned is trying to respond to this rapid change in the automobile industry by building a network of fast charging stations along the Dutch highway with national coverage. They are building the infrastructure that is necessary to fast charge all the electric vehicles.

They state that: only when this infrastructure is in place, the driver of an electric car will experience true freedom. This will start the electric revolution.

Currently they are building one new fast charging station per week and they already have a basic national network of stations in place. Ultimately, they will open 201 charging stations through the Netherlands. They designed their stations in a way that is compatible with frequent hardware and software updates. By doing this they can ensure that their stations will be usable in the future.

With an app it is possible to not only charge your car but also pay for it. Besides that you can check your charging history and change your plan and payment method.

As from yesterday (September 22, 2015) Fastned is cooperating with Nissan by giving buyers of the Nissan Leaf two years of free supercharging. With this cooperation drivers can easily charge their vehicles unlimited in a fast way. According to Michiel Langezaal (CEO, Fastned) this cooperation is a very logic step, and is actually the same as with mobile phones. When you buy a mobile phone you will also subscribe to a telecom provider in order to actually call. Will this be the future for buyers of electric vehicles? And will these kind of stimulations encourage consumers to buy an electric vehicle more faster than a regular vehicle?

Are the Dutch ready for the exponential growth in electric vehicles by incorporating the Fastned charging stations throughout the country or need they start to think of other ways to cope with this growth? What do you think should these ‘other ways’ be?

References:

http://www.aon.com/netherlands/publicaties/onderzoek-rapporten/pdf/Management_Summary_Elektrish_rijden.pdf

http://www.consultancy.nl/nieuws/roland-berger-strategy-consultants-10-trends-in-de-autobranche

http://www.rvo.nl/onderwerpen/duurzaam-ondernemen/energie-en-milieu-innovaties/elektrisch-rijden/stand-van-zaken/cijfers

www.fastned.nl

http://fastned.pr.co/111565-fastned-start-samenwerking-met-nissan