Sign & Digital Graphics

January '17

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6 • January 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S J ust when I'm starting to get comfortable with high-tech things like cloud computing, server farms and wireless everything—along comes this new digital high-concept idea called "The Internet of Things" that forces me to stop and think. I'm sure you've heard the phrase here and there. It's one of those new concepts that I'm afraid isn't going away anytime soon. Okay, so what exactly is the "Internet of Things" anyway? And, more impor- tantly, does the sign and commercial graphics industry need to pay attention? To learn more I went online and learned that the Internet of Things—com- monly written as " IoT"—is the internetworking of physical objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to "sync" or "talk" to each other by collecting and exchanging data. These objects, also referred to as "connected devices" or "smart devices," can come in many forms—from your cell phone to your car, your computer, your TV, stereo/ iPod, tablet or entire home theater system—even the lighting fixtures in your home. Potentially, anything can become part of the IoT. Some experts already esti- mate the number of connected "smart objects" will reach close to 30 billion this year. Is this a technological boon or a step closer to Huxley's twisted Brave New World? Lord save us. Yes, IoT is a pretty big thing, and it's poised to get a lot bigger, considering the investments that large companies are making in it. AT&T—which invented the first car phone in the 1940s—now offers a range of IoT solutions from networks and platforms to IoT for vehicles that can connect a car or a fleet, and can be used to set up a "usage-based" car insurance policy. Intel has posted articles on its website describing how to design entire "smart buildings" that employ IoT technologies to run them. Amazon Web Services, which mainly offers cloud computing services, now also offers IoT networks, platforms and various IoT business solutions. So, does the sign and commercial graphics industry really need to pay attention to all this disturbing IoT interconnectedness? Absolutely! Actually, the IoT is already hard-baked into many aspects of the sign industry, most obviously the electronic digital signage segment where signs are commonly connected to the internet and to each other. In fact, researchers at International Data Corporation recently issued an industry report showing that electronic digital signage was the biggest single growth driver globally for the IoT in 2016. But for our industry it doesn't stop there, no sir. Apps galore help us manage our LED billboards and EMC signage, and allow us to remotely monitor ink usage and even print jobs; and all those online banner orders that go straight to the print queue. Yes, and that cool laser-driven job-site measuring device that works through your cell phone and instantly produces and emails job proposals for you. Basically, any device that connects to another device—such your computer to your CNC router, laser engraver, automated X/Y table cutters, laminator or what- ever—is already part of IoT. Shops now will have to developed strategies to just handle all those connected devices. Lord save us. Okay, back to work. Got something to say? Join the S&DG Discussion Group at: Lord Save Us From the Internet of ings B Y K E N M E R G E N T I M E e Long View __________________________________________ Publisher James "Ruggs" Kochevar – Executive Editor Ken Mergentime – Managing Editor Matt Dixon – Digital Content Editor Tony Kindelspire – __________________________________________ Art Director Linda Cranston Graphic Artist Iveth Gomez Multimedia Producer Andrew Bennett __________________________________________ Advertising Account Executives Adam Decker – Diane Gilbert – Sara Siauw – Sales Support Dana Korman – __________________________________________ Contributors in this Issue: Matt Charboneau; Vince DiCecco; Scott Franko; Ryan Fugler; Paula Aven Gladych; Charity Jackson; Stephen Romaniello; Bill Schiffner; Andy Stonehouse; J. Bryan Vincent, Ph.D.; Rick Williams ___________________________________________ Vice President/Events Sue Hueg CEM, CMP – Show Sales Damon Cincotta – Exhibitor Services Antoinette Vernon – ____________________________________________ National Business Media, Inc. President & CEO Robert H. Wieber Jr. Vice President/Integrated Media John Bennett Vice President/Finance Kori Gonzales, CPA Vice President/Publishing and Markets Dave Pomeroy Vice President/Audience Lori Farstad Director of IT Wolf Butler

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