All of us here at Code Roadies are gamers to some degree. Some like old school video games (Mario!), others prefer casual mobile games (Clash of Clans!) , and some (me included, I suppose) fit the description of a “serious gamer” who partakes in almost all genres (Witcher 3!). Our lead developer used to work at a popular video game retailer, so it would be safe to say that he and his friends qualify as “hardcore gamers.” They’re the kind of guys who pay close attention to things like achievements and gamerscores, change the difficulty settings to “impossible, “beat controller-snapping games like Dark Souls without any trouble and crush me mercilessly when I venture online for attempts at Halo. It’s never a surprise, then, that they tend to be on the forefront of new gaming technology. Recently, they came across one of the first practical connections between gaming and the so-called “internet of things,” and it was pretty cool.
There is a game called Chariot for the XBOX One gaming console, and it interfaces wirelessly with Hue LED lights from Philips to change the color of the room lighting to reflect the environment of the game. You can see a demo of it here, but it doesn’t do justice to how cool the effect looks in real life (the lame “actors portraying gamers” don’t help).
The lights don’t necessarily make the game better (check it out mostly for the couch co-op), but they do make the experience pretty unique. Mostly, though, the gimmick gives us a peek at things to come. I’m not talking about games and lighting effects, here. I’m talking about your oven sending you an email that tells you that your turkey is almost done. The “internet of things” is about to mature, and we need to be ready.
Why does everything need to be connected? It doesn’t, of course. But this is about economics as much as it is technology. The folks who make washing machines need a reason for you to (a) buy a new washing machine and (b) pay them more for a washing machine. Presto! Internet-connected washing machines! But here’s the deal – when applied properly, the “internet of things” really works. Ask anybody who has a smart thermostat or smart locks on their doors, and they will rave to you about the peace of mind that they provide.
Here at Code Roadies, we’re not programming our websites to work with your fridge (yet), but we simply cannot ignore the ramifications of this impending connectedness. Why can’t a website check the contents of your fridge before suggesting a few extra purchases in order to prepare a delicious recipe? Why can’t it check to see if your TV is compatible with a new video service before suggesting a movie? I know it sounds a little scary (nobody is thrilled that their car can now get hacked), but I’m pretty sure it’s only going to get more prevalent in the future.
The web is growing. It may be starting with games and lights, but it will soon reach more and more into the real world. We can either cry “Skynet!” as we put on our tinfoil hats, or we can do everything in our power to make sure that the “internet of life” makes the world better for all of us. That’s what we’re going to do. Are you coming with us?