Before embarking upon his 15th century voyage around the world, Cristovão Colombo was challenged to explain how he intended to complete his circumnavigation dream. The distrust and disbelief in him was enormous, and consequential began to impact the support he was receiving to complete his journey. In response to the non-believers Colombo took an egg and asked:
- ‘Can you balance this egg upright on a flat table?’ - There was a buzz, and many spectators dared to try, ingloriously. Colombo, holding the egg, cooked it and flattened one of its ends, meaning that he could easily keep it balanced.
Since then, this challenge has come an effective metaphor for innovations that, once revealed, seem easy to achieve.
The explosion of opportunities that the advent of Internet of Things brings to us 6 centuries later, presents the perfect opportunity for us to apply Colombo’s Egg to the increasing innovation around us. A US Start Up in the IoT area called Quirky has developed an egg tray (smart egg box) that detects how many eggs are in the refrigerator and sends it to a mobile application that can be accessed at any time (e.g. – when you go shopping and need to decide whether to buy eggs or not). An extra feature also available to users concerns the information about how long each egg is on the tray for.
Consider this then, can the egg on the tray change the world? Everyone will probably say NO. I agree 100%, if this is the approach… But.. Let’s do an exercise…
Imagine that the information from the tray is sent, not only to the mobile application, but also to a central cloud platform.
Imagine that, in every house, we have this egg tray and - according to geolocation - an analytical engine that can also predict the average consumption and the demand for eggs during the upcoming days or week.
And imagine that, with this information, we can then set production levels to meet product needs.
Imagine also that, being able to set production levels, we can reduce waste levels in the production chain.
So now, it’s probably easier to imagine that, with all of this real-time information and with analytical and forecasting tools, we can have such detailed and accurate information on production that it will be possible to redirect overproduction for people, communities, or even countries with limited or no access to these products.
So, we must ask ourselves again, is it now so hard to believe that it is possible to make a better world out of an egg in a box?
This may not be the best example of IoT applications making our world a better place to live, but I am sure that with creativity and with the smart application of available technologies creating clever insights and smart data, we can create better solutions, adding value and improving the way individuals and groups extract value from technology across the world.
Internet of Things tends to turn into the Knowledge from Things.