My Car, the Weather, and the Internet of Things

CMS Wire just published an article of mine on the Internet of Things (IOT) and how the IOT could be used to serve business. I want to take a moment to share a section that I axed out of my article. It didn’t fit the article but I think helps show the benefit of the IOT.

I recently got the new Mazda 6. It has all the gadgets. I can listen to Pandora, connect my phone and iPod, and use it to find my way around town in the remote chance that I get lost. It even has a thermometer on it to tell me the temperature outside.

With all of that technology, it shouldn’t take much for my car to be contributor to the IOT.

It would be pretty cool for the car companies to sell to the Weather Service all of this data. Imagine, fleets of cars providing instant temperature readings to gauge current weather conditions. Add in the windshield wiper and headlight data, even more detailed analysis could be performed.

The Weather Service could then correlate all of this with their existing radar and other data sources to paint more complete pictures. As the data is collected and analyzed, it could be used to recognize dangerous storm developments and improve weather forecasts.

This is part of the promise of the IOT.

Except my thermometer is always wrong.

Benefit for the Contributor

In fact, the temperature given is almost always 5 degrees too high. While very comforting this winter, I suspect that come summer it will provide me stress that I do not need.

If all this data was being collected, a pattern could be discerned. Assuming that all the readings from this certain make and model of car are consistently incorrect, the manufacturer could look at this and try and find a fix. While not worth a recall, the fix could be applied the following model year. Information on how to fix the car could be sent to the dealerships. Emails could be sent to the owners, alerting them to this issue and that a fix was available.

The end result? Society benefits from better weather modeling. Manufacturer benefits from being able to identify issues earlier than they would otherwise. Consumers benefit by receiving higher quality products.

The IOT offers great promise for a better world…if we can only work out the privacy details. That is a post for another day.

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