This Month in Things: April 2018

Taron Foxworth
Taron Foxworth | 2 minute read

Welcome to This Month in Things. Every month, we try to bring you the most interesting, important information you need on IoT. It's always quick, useful, and informative. Make sure you subscribe to stay tuned in to IoT.


Alexa Is Coming to the Office

Currently, we know and love Alexa as a smart home device. However, Amazon has bigger goals of bringing Alexa to the office. This new product is called Alexa for Business.

Alexa Conference Room
With Alexa for Business, Amazon wants to expand Alexa’s capabilities by integrating with enterprise software and gain the support for businesses to write their own Alexa skill(s). This new functionality can position Alexa to be a more office assistant-like device, or live in a conference room to help facilitate meetings. 

Having Alexa in a business setting will expose Alexa to different types of conversations and patterns. So, by expanding Alexa's context, this should make Alexa perform better for the home and office.

World's First NB-IoT Module Certified for Use in Hazardous Environments

As IoT becomes more ubiquitous, we have to be mindful that some hardware will live in hazardous environments, especially in industries such as construction or mining. The company behind it, u-blox is a maker of different IoT modules and chip-sets. They have created the first NB-IoT module that has been approved for deployment in hazardous environments.

UBox Sara N2

Because of NB-IoT's low power requirements and range, it can run for years on a single battery with excellent coverage, which makes it very useful for a lot of industrial use cases. This module is available now and certified for use in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

The First Public Smart Bathroom Is Now Open at LAX

You can now check out the start of a smart public bathroom at LAX. We’ve all had the pain of getting off the plane and searching for the nearest available stall in a busy airport. So, LAX installed a system called "Tooshlights".

LAX Smart Bathroom

This light will live above the stalls and give you a clear indicator if a stall is available or not. They obviously know this use case isn’t life-changing, but they can use this data to learn other things. For example, they can use it to understand bathroom stall usage for maintenance purposes, or even know if people are lurking in the bathroom in emergency situations. 

Singapore Is the Best Performing Smart City

Based on a study done by Juniper Research and Intel, Singapore has been declared the top performing smart city in the world. 

Singapore Trees

Researchers defined a smart city as a city that uses IoT technology to improve public infrastructure and services. They categorized smart cities into four distinct areas: Mobility, Health, Safety, and Productivity. Singapore was number one in every single category. This research was conducted to study and hopefully show that the effort put towards building a smart city can truly have an impact on the quality of life. 

Could Tooth-Mounted Trackers Be the Next Fitness Wearables?

We currently have tons and tons of wearables that track our exercise, steps, heart rate, etc. But, researchers at Tufts University Biomedical Engineering are experimenting with tooth sensors.

Tooth Sensor

When attached to a surface and using RFID, these sensors can read and transmit its environment’s data to a nearby tablet or cell phone. Researchers were able to attach the sensor to a tooth and determine the difference between different liquids in the subjects` mouths. They hope that one day this technology can help us keep accurate logs of our diet to help us live better, healthier lifestyles. 

Well, that’s all for this month. Until next time, stay connected.