There are people who live and breathe the Internet of Things. Stacey Higginbotham is one of those people. She is a senior editor at Fortune focused on writing about the latest and greatest in technology. She is also the host of the IoT podcast, a brilliant podcast on the various developments in the Internet of Things. In this interview, I wanted to find out more on Stacey’s insight into the Internet of Things and her recommendations for developers keen on getting into the IoT world. She had some very useful tips and thoughts!
Doing the podcast is terribly fun. I am a journalist and have been one for the last 15 years, but I’ve only worked in print, so having the opportunity to let people hear stories the way I hear them (albeit a bit edited) is a way to share what gets me so excited about technology and writing. I also love having a venue to talk about playing with technology in my life in a way that feels more approachable and less dry than writing it down. And it’s nice that even after Gigaom shut down I still get to spend time each week with Kevin Tofel talking about gadgets and tech news. From my perspective and even Kevin’s, we’d be immersed in this stuff anyway, so it’s nice to have a fairly easy way to share that love of the internet of things and the smart home with people.
I’d recommend picking something you’d like to see in the world and trying to make it. As for platforms, I’d pick something that has a wide user base because you’d be able to find resources that can help you. If your end goal is to play you can’t go wrong with using a Pi or an Arduino. If you know you want to build something more professional for the consumer market the Particle board from Spark Labs or the Electric Imp platform is a good start. More enterprise focused folks might do well with an Imp or the Thingsee platform. There are also boards like TI’s BeagleBone that are pretty powerful and you can pick your platform. From a software perspective, tools like Dweet.io or Octoblu are dev focused as opposed to hardware focused. I really think that you should start with a project that’s just for fun so when you get frustrated you won’t be tempted to give up, and then go from there.
Build your product and have it ready to ship in smaller volumes (500 or so) before launching your pre-order campaign. Also understand what you are building and stick with it. Make your feature impeccable and beautiful. You can’t show up ready to compete against Apple and Samsung (and if you are going after the mainstream consumer, that is your competition or yardstick) with a 3-D printed product that only works some of the time.
I am most excited about linking things together. Accordingly I think tools that make that easier and help link different devices together are going to grow most rapidly. Also AI and recommendation tech that helps consumers link devices in the home together and similar tools to help enterprises save money. For example, Honeywell makes a Command screen and software that basically mashes up different web software and building sensors to make a wide array of information available to users. The first step will be tools and dashboards like that to bring many sources of information together, but the next step will be analytics and AIs that can help take that info and turn it into recommendations and insights. I was actually surprised Honeywell was ahead on this, not a traditional IT company.
A huge thank you to Stacey for taking the time to share her insights into the Internet of Things! You can find her at @gigastacey on Twitter and find her IoT Podcast at http://iotpodcast.com/. It is definitely worth a listen. Thanks Stacey!
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