To continue my series of blog posts about how to practice the Internet of Things in different sectors, here is one for the Insurance sector.
One of the biggest opportunities of the Internet of Things for product manufacturers is to make their existing products smarter. A famous examples is what our client Philips have done with their smart Hue lights, making the traditional dull light bulb into something inspiring. They have made several of their lights wirelessly connected so that they can be controlled in a number of ways. Obviously they can be turned on and off, but also to some intensity somewhere in-between. Even the color can be changed, and all this can be controlled from their mobile apps. But they wanted to go further by becoming a part of the ecosystem around lights, so we helped them build an API that can be used by any third-party developers building solutions that include their lights. This opens up for anything that can be created with software (or really the imagination), and their products have thereby become so much more.
An interesting use of lights would be to provide help in an emergency situation, and that could be something that an insurance company would be interested in. The lights could act as a way to attract attention (or even wake someone up) and also provide guidance in a smoke-filled environment. One way of making this happen would be to make another traditional product, the fire alarm, smarter. A smart fire alarm could notify a server about high levels of smoke, and the server could take a number of actions. It could notify the owners via mobile app push notifications, and it could even automatically alert the local fire department. The server could also use the Philips Hue API www.developers.meethue.com to make the light blink for attention and even color them to guide people through the smoke to the nearest exit. The device could also send a notification if the battery level was becoming critically low, and thereby preventing a very common hazard with most current fire alarms.
Here is a video on how such a device (and server) can be put together.