Today, we live in an Internet of Things universe where billions of devices interact with people, the cloud and each other. In our own daily lives, household appliances, personal wearables and the cars we drive have mostly graduated to the realm of IoT.
Distilled to its basics, the premise is simple: embed a tiny computer and a radio into a device so it can send and receive data between people and things. This drives automation, intelligence and interactivity that was previously impossible. And with near ubiquitous and inexpensive internet coverage, there is great incentive to invest in transforming disconnected devices into IoT-ready things.
Where are we Today?
Forecasts predict that by next year, we will have over 29 billion connected IOT devices on our planet. That’s a lot of cameras, sensors, handhelds and industrial machines. Within the four walls of your home alone, that likely includes every appliance, fixture, and screen. But let’s face it, 29 billion is a fraction of the physical inventory of the things on our planet today. To exploit the full potential of IOT, we’re actually talking about connecting trillions of things, aren’t we? There are so many items that could benefit from being connected to the cloud, items that can’t bear the added expense of a chip and a communications radio.
Branded consumer goods could leverage cloud connectivity to validate authenticity. Sensitive shipments like vaccines and legal documents could be tracked for chain of custody and transfer. Even simple print media could leverage internet connections to provide audiences with more information and interactivity. The applications are endless. So, how do we get it done?
Connecting the Unconnected: QR and NFC
Contactless technologies like QR Codes and NFC chips provide an elegant and powerful solution for the 99% of things that can’t shoulder the added expense of a radio for connectivity. By embedding these virtually free ‘tokens’ into everyday items and using devices (like our cell phones) to act as their radios, we can create a bridge to IoT for just about anything.
While the subsiding pandemic showed us the utility of contactless technologies like QR Codes, it only gave us a tiny glimpse into how they can be used to digitize and automate the physical world. Today, most QR Codes scan to static endpoints like websites and documents. In reality, QR Codes and NFC tags can be instrumented to do far more. They can be configured to collect and store all sorts of contextual data, capture scanner demographics, and trigger dynamic workflows that change based on parameters. But to bring these features to everyday use cases, better developer tools and platforms are needed.
Openscreen and the Contactless Era of IOT
Openscreen’s vision of connecting the next trillion things in an IOT universe is based on being the broadest and most developer-friendly platform for contactless technologies like QR Codes and NFC tags. By empowering developers to generate dynamic QR Codes at scale, with robust data and scan capture utilities, we’re lowering the barriers to embed contactless tech into enterprise applications. We enable developers to securely store the things we want to connect to the cloud, and easily create the QR tokens that will get them there. Openscreen’s developer API and SDK make it easy to get started right away, and our reference documentations showcase powerful applications across diverse industries. After all, a trillion is a big number. Let’s get going!