Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year, and welcome to the Internet of Things

A Happy New Year to all of you, and welcome back!  I hope 2015 brings you peace, health and happiness.

A brand new year is ahead of us, and I've been giving some thought to what my priorities are in the first few months. I will be concentrating on:
  • The action plan following the staff survey and all of the data we have collected about the results
  • Implementing our Customer Service Strategy which we circulated to our staff just before Christmas and will be launching more widely soon
  • Improving our stakeholder relationships
  • A common framework for IT support across the university
  • Putting in place processes to better plan, design, build, transition and deliver services
My colleagues on the Exec also have priorities that they will be taking forward, and I'll share them with you over the next few days.

One thing I haven't managed to achieve yet, is a trip to CES - the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It's the place where all the new gadgets and inventions are showcased, and the consumer space is definitely the place to look. Being a bit of a gadget girl, I'd love to go. Big thing this year - well, everything. The Internet of things has really taken off.  Everything that can be connected to the internet, will be. Everything is now in place to link our phones, TVs, appliances, cars, and homes. Computers, storage sensors, and wireless network connections have all become cheap enough to add networked intelligence to practically anything.

For example, Whirlpool has a new washer/dryer that speaks to the Nest thermostat. With its motion-sensing technology, the Nest knows when nobody is home. It tells the dryer, which then switches to a lower-temperature setting. The clothes dry more slowly to save energy because no one is in a hurry to put them on. The user does not have to program this behavior; the dryer and thermostat work it out for themselves. Is that a bit spooky? Or just very clever? 

Apparently they're also working on a coffee maker that will connect to your fitbit, to turn itself on as you're coming in from a run, or makes stronger coffee if you've had a bad night sleep!

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