Friday, November 6, 2015

Internet of Things (IoT) Killer Applications Design Insights from Patents

Alex G. Lee (

Samsung SmartThings is the first fully integrated smart home system. As described in Samsung patent application US20150192939, the key element of the Samsung SmartThings is the hub that can connect various IoT devices according to various types of communication methods. The hub can detect and connect the identified IoT devices. Device identification can be based on device media access control (MAC) addresses, unique identifiers (e.g., names), unique IP addresses, unique web addresses, and so on, as well as various generally identifying information, such as non-unique device types, non-unique device classes, locations, etc.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 1: Interoperable Networking of the IoT Devices

As described in Samsung patent application US20150192939, the Samsung SmartThings includes the IoT sensors than can collect characteristic information of the environment. The characteristic information includes an internal temperature of the environment, internal humidity of the environment, health status of a person and/or road traffic condition information, etc. The IoT sensors include various kinds of sensors such as a temperature sensor, a humidity sensor, or a luminance sensor, and sense the internal temperature, internal humidity, internal luminance, or the like of the environment. The IoT sensors also include health monitoring biomedical sensing devices and/or personal fitness monitoring devices that can provide a real time monitoring of person’s health status such as concentration of glucose, heart rate and blood pressure, and thus, enable remote healthcare services.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 2: Best IoT Sensor Selection for Collecting Characteristic Information of the Environment

Cisco patent application US20150222490 illustrates a broker device that receives device-identifying data to identify the IoT device exploiting semantic reasoning. The broker device identifies an ontology associated with the device-identifying data and interprets the received data based on the interpretation instructions. For example, the device broker can be placed within a network where it would receive temperature-related data from several temperature sensors. The first temperature sensor can be associated with a bed room within a home. The first temperature sensor provides identifying information of the sensor, which can include additional information such as location (e.g., sensor in the bed room). The broker device can then connect to a server to load the device ontology associated with the first temperature sensor. The device ontology provides the broker device with instructions on how to interpret the temperature measurements from the first temperature sensor. The second temperature sensor in a living room, from a different manufacturer than the first temperature sensor, can have a different representation of temperature data. The first temperature sensor also can provide identifying information of the sensor with the temperature measurement taken at a specific time of day. Accordingly, when the broker device receives a temperature measurement from the first temperature sensor, the broker device can tag the measurement with a timestamp. In other words, the broker device can create various categories for measurements taken by the same temperature sensor.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 3: Semantic Reasoning of the Data from the IoT Devices

Qualcomm patent application US20140244710 describes the IoT devices that can cognize each other's presence, status, and environment in order to perform context aware actions and/or commands on a collective basis.
By being aware of the context of other IoT devices, an IoT device can perform a set of actions/commands based on a trigger derived from the context of the other IoT devices. That is, an IoT device can detect a change in the context of other IoT devices and, in response, perform an action or a state change. Alternatively, an IoT device can perform an action or change its state and, in response, command other IoT devices to perform an action or change its state. For example, when a parent's IoT device is not in the living room, the television (a context-aware IoT device) can restrict remote control operation by the child, allow toggling across PG rated content only, power off after a five minute timeout, or the like. IoT devices can further leverage association ranks of the other IoT devices to perform the determined actions. For example, a music system in the living room (a context-aware IoT device) can play a first genre of music for a first person (carrying a first IoT device). If a second person (carrying a second IoT device) walks into the room, the music system can switch to a music genre that both the first person and the second person like (an identified commonality) or continue playing the first genre of music if the association rank of the first person (determined from the first IoT device) is greater than the association rank of the second person (determined from the second IoT device).

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 4: Collective Interaction of the IoT Devices

As described in Samsung patent application US20150192939, the Samsung SmartThings hub receives user request information from the user terminal apparatus (smartphone). The user request information is the information used for driving various devices to set an environment of the home to a user's desired environment. The user terminal can display various user interfaces (UIs). The user terminal can display information received from the SmartThings Hub and display UIs for controlling the IoT devices in a home network. PrimeSense (acquired by Apple at $350 million in 2013) US20140225824 describes the virtual smart home control buttons: A control unit projects images of control devices onto a wall of the room and remotely senses contact with and manipulation of the projected devices by a user (contact with the wall on which the images are projected and gestures of the user's hand and fingers while in this situation). The projected devices can range from a simple on/off switch to more complex controls, such as dials, sliders, and keypads. The user can modify, add or remove control devices at will by interaction with the control system, such as by holding and dragging a projected device along the wall to a new location.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 5: Best UI Selection for Users

Neura patent application US20150019714 illustrates the adaptable autonomous smart home system. The adaptable autonomous smart home system can recognize the contextual or semantic profiling of a person or place or devices (physical environment) based on sensed data by the IoT devices. The adaptable autonomous smart home system determines particular interpretation instructions (define particular IoT device control rules) that are associated with the particular physical environment and dynamically updates the control rules for changing physical environment.
Qualcomm patent application US20150185713 illustrates a smart home system that IoT devices automatically perform their function based on the monitored user behavior.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 6: Adaptable Autonomous System for Users

Microsoft patent application US20150262486 illustrates the connected cars technology by which driver safety technology such as collision detection is implemented via smartphone sensors and the cloud service that processes data received from vehicles associated with the smartphone. Beam Technologies patent application US20150088538 illustrates the cloud based smart health care system that provides various devices for tracking and monitoring health statistics and behaviors including oral health, fitness, heart health, bone health, salivary diagnostics and diabetes. Konkuk University patent application US20150134727 illustrates a cloud based system for managing home appliances that may efficiently manage a large amount of data generated by the home appliances. IBM patent application US20140068180 illustrates a system capable of efficiently analyzing big data.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 7: Maximum Exploitation of Back-End Systems (Cloud, Big Data Analytics)

Centralized security architectures are sometimes ill-suited for the IoT networks. For example, centralized authenticators may lack the flexibility, granularity, and extensibility to make efficient and informed security decisions in highly distributed and/or heterogeneous IoT networks. Accordingly, security architectures capable of providing efficient trust mechanisms in highly distributed open network environments are desired. Futurewei Technologies patent application US20150135277 illustrates the trust management framework that would be invaluable for addressing the current as well as future IoT environments needs exploiting the distributed security architectures.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 8: Security Architectures for Maximum Security Measures

Flextronics AP patent application US20140309790 illustrates a system to create an environment within the vehicle similar to that of an individual's home. An individual who is more comfortable while traveling instills confidence and pleasure in using a given vehicle, increasing an individual's preference for a given manufacturer and/or vehicle type. One way to instill comfort in a vehicle is to create the integrating features in a vehicle that are associated with comfort found in an individual's home by proving user’s profile data at home. The connected car system receives user’s profile data from smart home system and determines context to change a configuration of a vehicle. The configurations can include comfort and interface settings that can be adjusted based on the user profile information. Hyundai Motor Company patent application US20120120930 illustrates a vehicle network system interconnected with a home network that includes a vehicle information collection unit and a wireless transceiver unit. Further, the user profiles can track health data related to the user and make adjustments to the configuration to assist the health of the user.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 9: Exploration of Cross-Industry Applications

Apple patent application US20150237470 illustrates a system that can provide location-based personalized services triggered by a personal geofence. The system can determine that a venue located at a geographic location and frequently visited by the mobile device in the past is associated with a particular item, service, or activity. Upon receiving a query about the item, service, or activity, the mobile device can create a temporary geofence around the venue. Using past behavior patterns and a current location, the mobile device can determine a condition to trigger execution of an application program or display of certain content. The condition can be personalized to match a life style of a user of the mobile device. PrimeSense patent application US 20140304647 describes the gesture-mediated remote IoT device control system using the 3D sensing technology. LG patent application US 20150253862 illustrates the mobile phone UI in person’s palms exploiting a head mounted wearable mobile phone. Jibo patent application US20140277735 illustrates the friendly, helpful and intelligent home robot that can adapt to reside continually in the environment of a person and to interact with a user by combing robotics and artificial intelligence. Affectiva patent application US20140200463 illustrates a practical possibility of implementation of emotion-aware smart home IoT applications by determining well-being status from an analysis of facial information and physiological information of an individual.

IoT Killer Applications Design Rule 10: User Experiences (UXs) for Maximum User Satisfaction



A common criticism of today's Internet of Things is that it doesn't have a "killer app" to push the concept into the mainstream. But maybe it doesn't need one. The Internet never had a killer app either; it just got better tools to make sense of all its disparate parts.

Design Thinking and Internet of Things (see the video)

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