Can a key be smart too?



Back in the days, the only way to unlock a car door was to insert the car key, turn it and the door unlocks. With technology advancing everyday, a simple device like the car key has evolved from just being a key, to buttons on the keys to perform specific functions.

In a event in 2012, Dr. John Barrett talked about what constitutes to a smart object:

  1. It must have a unique identity
  2. It must be able to communicate
  3. It must have senses (pressure sensors, RFID etc)
  4. It must be able to control things

Today, the smart car key from the newest BMW 7 series model can do much more than just locking and unlocking doors. With IoT, we can build a network that connects multiple physical objects to the Internet, have them to communicate to each other by exchanging data and information.

BMW connects the car key with the car, allowing it to send vehicle info such as fuel level, whether doors and windows are open/closed, and even to turn on/off the air-conditioning. With a click of a button on the key, it can even command the vehicle to self-park, while you make your way into your apartment. How cool does it sound!

But, can it do better?

Let’s put on your Hat of Imagination, take a step further and imagine what the future of cars would be like with IoT. Who knows:

With IoT, we can make the car carry out preventive maintenance actions based on real-time information. For example, if the car sensors sensed that tire pressures are low, it can quickly locate the nearest tire repair shop, self-drive there and have it fixed while you’re busy in a meeting.

With IoT, cars can now communicate with each other, so there will be less congested roads and lesser accidents, optimising performance of each vehicle and make its own decision.

With IoT, the car keys can provide “quantified self” applications, tracking our health conditions. If they detect any large abnormalities or danger, they could drive you to the nearest hospital, informing the hospital of your condition before your arrival, much like how an ambulance does. It can even save your life! Gary Wolf also talks about how gadgets uses “quantified self” application to track and analyze your habits.

To illustrate this better, check out the video below!

IoT is more than just wearables. Do you think IoT will bring us more benefits or bring us more harms? Share with me your thoughts in the comment box below! 



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