In our latest Samsung Champions Spotlight series, we’re featuring an interview with Peter Ma, a technologist, entrepreneur and serial hacker with extensive experience in the IoT space.
Peter sat down to talk with us about the opportunities, challenges and future of IoT— here are a few of his thoughts.
Tell us about your experience in developing IoT apps.
I have been developing IoT apps for over three years. Prior to this, I was doing mobile/web development for more than 10 years. Currently, I am working on a wearable called Grindbit, a headband that can detect teeth grinding during the night. If you grind your teeth, feel free to sign up at http://www.grindbit.com. ARTIK 1 will be a good candidate for the device once it becomes available.
What application or project are you most proud of, and why?
I’ve worked on many projects over the past couple of years, but the one I am most proud of is called Anti-Snoozer. It’s an IoT app that uses a camera to detect when a driver is drowsy and attempts to wake them up. The reason this project is so important to me is because of an almost fatal situation that happened to a loved one. My aunt became permanently disabled after a car accident involving a drowsy driver. Not wanting to have this happen again to anyone, I developed Anti-Snoozer. When my aunt heard about this, she started crying, wishing there was something like this before the incident — but all the same, she was proud and happy. I was able to open source the project and open up a conversation with many car manufacturers. I was even able to give a demo to John Kerry during a recent trip to China.
What do you find so exciting about working with IoT?
IoT will change the way we interact with the world in the very near future. There will be a tipping point when people stop asking, “Why do we need these sensors in everyday items?” and start asking, “Why don’t we know how many times this chair has been sat on, and who sat on it?” Just think about what it was like when web search and mobile phones were adopted by the mainstream public. ARTIK and other IoT devices will be providing us that kind of innovation in the future.
What do you see as the biggest challenge that developers who work with IoT face?
The biggest challenge in working with IoT is the scalability. For those of us coming from a software background, we find it very easy to scale web and mobile software for mass adoption. Scaling hardware is more difficult, though, because you can’t constantly update a user’s hardware.
What’s your advice for handling these challenges?
The only advice I can give is that you need to have a different mentality when working with IoT projects. After the prototyping stage, you should test it out and try to eradicate every single bug before launching the product. ARTIK Cloud can help solve some of these scaling challenges as it takes away the need for developers to build and maintain their server, so they can focus on building the product instead.
Look into your crystal ball to five years in the future. What does the IoT experience look like?
I believe we will have a future where IoT devices will no longer be categorized as the Internet of Things — they will just be “things”, as connectivity will be expected for everything. The user experience for integration will also be much more seamless. For example, when we purchase a desk or a chair, we won’t need to “pair” them, as they will be automatically paired. Just like how a dog knows its owner, the “things” we purchase will know their owner from the time of purchase to the time they are sold or recycled.