The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to become more mainstream. Millions of people use Fitbit health trackers, Nest smart thermostats, and Ring doorbell cameras, which are early examples of IoT. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential commercial applications of IoT. IoT has the potential to change the way cities are run, the way our healthcare is managed, the way our cars communicate, and the way our supply chains and manufacturing are utilized. But how exactly will IoT improve our lives? How can it improve our health? What are the new IoT technologies that we should expect to see around the corner? How does one create a successful career in the IoT industry? In this interview, Tatsiana Kerimova, CEO & Co-Founder of Orangesoft, shares her thoughts on the future of the Internet of Things.
Q: Tatsiana, can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started in the IoT industry?
Tatsiana: I’m a big fan of IoT devices, and so is Orangesoft. IoT has penetrated nearly all spheres of our daily life, from home routines to healthcare. With the rise of IoT, the demand for mobile apps has also grown. Mobile apps and IoT devices go hand in hand. Thanks to my 11 years of experience as a tech company CEO, I can say that IoT has tremendous potential for all business sectors.
Q: Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Tatsiana: One of the most interesting stories is probably what happened when we had just decided to enter the IoT market. I started visiting various tech events, summits, and conferences to meet with potential clients and find out more about the industry.
But had I ever thought that I would pitch our services while waiting in the long line to the ladies’ room? There, I heard ladies speaking about some problems their company faced during the software development process. I decided to get the most out of the situation and make my way into the conversation. I told them about Orangesoft and offered our services to help them build their solution. And you know what? They became our clients! I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Q: Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell our readers about the most interesting IoT projects you are working on now?
Tatsiana: There are several IoT projects we’re currently working on. But since our time is limited, I’ll focus on the smart office project. Just imagine you enter the office, and a coffee machine starts making your favorite coffee. The whole office is a sophisticated ecosystem that uses a number of IoT devices to monitor, manage, and control various aspects.
- Automated heating and lighting, and sensors to control humidity levels, temperature, air quality, and CO2.
- Smart meeting rooms that can be automatically booked with a full sync of employees’ calendars.
- Access control systems, security cameras, and sensors.
- Dimming lights that change with the daylight and weather.
Q: How do you think this might change the world?
Tatsiana: For sure, smart offices aren’t going to change the world, but they can definitely impact people’s lives. IoT-enabled offices are a lot more than just spaces with automated lighting and heating. They could be safer and more convenient for employees, and hence, smart offices can help increase ROI and minimize “coffee making” waiting time. In the post-pandemic times, it’s imperative to follow all recommendations regarding air ventilation, filters, etc. And smart offices can ensure the highest safety standards.
Q: Keeping “Black Mirror” TV series in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks of this technology that people should think more deeply about?
Tatsiana: It depends, since “Black Mirror” tells about different technologies. Some of the technologies pictured in the series have already arrived, and some of them will be implemented in the future. I don’t feel like diving deeply into discussing each technology displayed.
Generally, I’m fond of the technologies “Black Mirror” tells us about. But before bringing them all to life, we need to make sure our society is ready for all those changes. For example, the concept of the social rating system pictured in one of the episodes has been actively adopted in China. The integrated security system can scan people and constantly monitor the activities of trespassers. Then, the system can set particular limitations for the given people based on the data analyzed. For example, they won’t be able to get on the bus or train.
But all these technologies are both good and bad. They can be compared with the death penalty. Are death penalties bad or good? I have mixed feelings about them both. Are there any drawbacks of such sophisticated technologies? For sure, there are some. Can their benefits outweigh those drawbacks?
In some cases, the adoption of the following technologies can make our society a safer place, but before implementation, there need to be some plebiscites to find out what people really think about such innovations.
Q: What are the three things that most excite you about the IoT industry? Why?
Tatsiana: I get excited mostly by the fact that we’re pioneering the evolution of the IoT industry. The potential implications of IoT are enormous. The entire planet could become a unified, brain-like system in the nearest future.
IoT means that everything from household appliances to construction equipment, vehicles, and buildings will transmit data and interact with other objects and people. For example, our medicine cabinet will be able to send us notifications when we’re getting low on antihistamines, or our bathroom will be able to remind us to buy a new tube of toothpaste.
IoT home smart devices will be able to track and store our habits in order to keep our health conditions safe. What went wrong? Am I feeling sick because I’ve eaten something my body couldn’t process well? IoT devices will keep track of the events and behavior patterns to analyze and find out what has made you feel sick.
With the current devices, we can monitor lots of vitals, including the amount of carbs, sugar and oxygen levels, heart rate and pulse, body temperature, and others. Taking into account the activity level, the number of steps, and the quality of sleep, these basic vitals are enough to predict a large number of diseases and to help fine-tune a lifestyle and lead a healthier life.
We don’t use all the IoT advancements and opportunities to the fullest yet. There are still lots of ways IoT can improve our lives. We’re just entering the IoT-driven era and can see the rise of IoT-driven devices firsthand.
Q: What are the three things that concern you about the IoT industry? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?
Tatsiana: With the rise of IoT devices, there is also a rise in manufacturing that has more impact on natural resources. I think the greatest concern of the IoT industry is its sustainability. Obviously, they are using more materials now to integrate almost every conventional device into the IoT network.
For example, producing a smart electric kettle needs more components since they have additional smart parts to stay online with apps. So IoT manufacturers need to think about the ways to minimize their manufacturing footprint and ensure that the resulting devices have solid high quality and are easy to fix and dispose of.
Making devices easy to repair may lead to manufacturers being deprived of the lion’s share of sales, but there are other ways to make more money while saving resources, like subscription-based services, spare parts, premium app features, etc.
Q: Can you share with our readers a few of the exciting future applications of IoT that you have seen?
Tatsiana: It seems that the number of IoT devices will increase. Sensors, smart home appliances, and other smart wearables have become trivial. So, smart clothes can be one of the exciting future applications of IoT. In fact, that last concept has already edged out of the IoT industry and jumped onto the metaverse bandwagon. Now, the idea of virtual and smart clothes is gaining momentum in terms of the metaverse, where people can buy virtual clothes for their avatars.
Speaking about the real world, the concept of smart clothes still isn’t real. It would be great to have a jacket that will automatically adapt to the outside temperature, wouldn’t it? For example, you can set it to 98.6°F, and the jacket will automatically maintain the set temperature by opening/ closing vents, turning on/off heating elements, etc.
Let’s take a reality check. IoT has a huge potential for the healthcare sector. For example, IoT sensors can control and manage the temperature scenario for medicines since even the slightest change in temperature can lead to irreversible reactions.
But ensuring the highest quality of medicines is just half of the battle. Taking them on time is another challenge. Developing a sensor that will constantly monitor the blood concentration of the prescribed medicine and notify when it’s time to take another pill can increase the efficiency of treatment and achieve the desired outcomes much faster.
According to statistics, most accidents during surgery are due to the sudden failure of a crucial surgical tool. Sensors could warn of such situations by prompting through the app in advance that a certain component is overheating and worn enough to be replaced with a new one. It could automatically contact the service center to request the service and maintain lifesaving tools in proper condition. There are dozens of other exciting IoT apps. Perhaps we could meet for another interview to cover them all :)
Q: Can you help articulate to our readers a few of the ways that IoT can improve our health and improve our lives?
Tatsiana: I’m impressed by how IoT is changing the landscape of the healthcare, fitness, and beauty industries. The IoT sensors can improve the quality of life. For example, when a patient visits a doctor, they don’t remember tons of important information that can help a specialist prescribe the optimal treatment. And IoT sensors can provide valuable insights into the patient’s lifestyle, symptoms, vitals, and diet and let the doctor make a well-informed decision. Even now, IoT devices can collect and analyze tons of data like nutrition facts, walking distance, glucose levels, heart rate, and blood pressure that could play a vital role in diagnosing.
Q: My expertise is in product security, so I’m particularly passionate about this question. In today’s environment, hackers break into the software running IoT devices, for ransomware, to damage brands, or for other malicious purposes. Based on your experience, what should IoT manufacturing companies do to uncover vulnerabilities in the development process to safeguard their IoT products?
Tatsiana: The question of hacking IoT devices is exaggerated. Most concerns arise when we refer to smart locks when hackers can monitor the signal and open the lock using a hacked NFC. But these chances are even lower when compared to regular burglaries. Nevertheless, companies need to pay extra attention to making their devices hacker-proof and need to run various tests to ensure their security. And who but hackers can test better whether a device is hackable or not? So, IoT companies can take advantage of “professional” hackers to find the most vulnerable parts.
Q: What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The IoT Industry?
Tatsiana: The desire for exploration takes the first three positions in my “5 things you need to know to create a highly successful career in the IoT industry” list. IoT requires lots of analysis, and the willingness for exploration leads to discoveries in the IoT industry and a successful career. Also, you need to be curious enough to find out-of-the-ordinary solutions to routine problems.
Then, it is hard to build an IoT career without engineering skills because you need to bring your idea to life. Moreover, having a quick eye lets you notice all the things vital for your future device and its further adoption into the daily life of millions.
Q: You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Tatsiana: Even though the tendency toward extended life expectancy may potentially damage the balance and have a drastic effect on our planet, as a human being, I still want to speak about it. I believe that the further adoption of IoT devices will help us live a healthier, longer, and safer life and ignite a self-consciousness movement. Moreover, it will also help us find out more about ourselves, our behavioral, physical, and mental patterns. So, I want to trigger (in a good way) people to be open-minded to discover, invent IoT health and body-related devices, and live a longer and happier life with our families and friends.
This interview was originally published in Authority Magazine