I overslept because the batteries in my robot butler were low…

The batteries in your remote unit are low.

That may become the flashing 12:00 of the age of IoT. Your batteries are low. Your wi-fi signal is not strong enough to place a remote sensor here or there.

I posted yesterday on Linkedin a conversational what could we gain from IoT post. Today for some reason I am stuck in the concept of the flashing 12:00 of a VCR from the 1980’s. I always knew how to set my VCR’s clock as I recorded shows frequently. I was a DVR user long before there were DVR’s. I like to watch what I like to watch when I like to watch it. But there were times that my VCR flashed 12:00. If I unplugged it or there was a power outage I didn’t always reset it until I needed it. Even then there were only 2 or 3 shows I liked enough to record. (Although that has changed this year – between “The Curse of Oak Island” and “Pawn Stars” I actually am recording more shows than ever before.

In the end it wasn’t the knowledge of how to set the VCR, it was the flashing 12:00’s that everyone made fun of.

Low battery signals will become those flashing 12:00’s of the IoT age. I can see the comic walking on stage “I went to my grandma’s house the other day. Before I got to the front door I got the front door battery low warning. Inside the house I got 200 this device has a low battery warnings. I said Grandma don’t you change the batteries. She looked at me and then said “I didn’t know they wore diapers.” Bah, dump bump. Or the alternate answer that may also be used grandma saying I can’t hear you my hearing aid battery is low.

For some reason I hear George Carlin’s voice “if you can’t change the battery you can’t have the IoT devices” I know he never said that but it’s his brand of comedy.

In fact I think there is a new profession on the table. Battery Rangers, who go from house to house changing batteries. Or more and more tiny solar panels on outdoor sensors and indoor sensors that get their power from radio waves sent by a plugged in master unit. In fact I suspect the IoT ready home of the future will have a home automation system and will have about 2 billion plugs, Ethernet, Fiber Optics, power, cable and two open slots for future cabling advancement.

Children going door to door, not to mow lawns and shovel snow, rake leaves or any of the things we did as kids to make money. They will go door to door to say “can I change your driveway clearing robot or your leaf raking robot.” Neighbors arguing over their automated lawn mowing systems – “your mowing robot moved 1 inch of my yard.” Oh such a brave new world to have people such as that in it.

The last battery you will ever need.

It won’t be I slept through my alarm anymore. It will become my robot butler’s batteries were low and it didn’t wake me up.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

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