They may look like ordinary washers and dryers to you, but to Hemant Jain they are the first steps into the future.
In the laundry room at the University of WisconsinMilwaukees Kenilworth Square Apartments, the appliances operate on real-time. Residents can go online to check which washers and dryers are available, and can opt to receive an e-mail message when a machines cycle is finished. The company that maintains the machines monitors them via the Internet.
Time may well be the single most important factor affecting enterprises in the 21st century, says Jain, Wisconsin Distinguished Professor and Tata Consulting Services Professor of Management Information Systems in the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business.
Jain is working on developing a cross-disciplinary Real Time Enterprises Research Program. By attaching intelligent cyber-devices (connected through the Internet) to physical objects, all kinds of enterprises can suddenly have situational awareness. That is, they can quickly sense and respond and track and trace.
Examples fire the imagination. Smart appliances are connected through the Internet to an electric utility that varies pricing in real-time, based on demand. As a result, appliances may shut down or turn on based on the decision rules that have been programmed into them. For example, a clothes dryer can be shut down during peak times saving the homeowner money, smoothing out demand for the utility and benefiting the environment.
To assure a great experience for fest-goers, a summer festival can constantly track attendance through ticket bar codes. On the health care front, hospitals are able to continuously monitor patients in the hospital and at home to provide better care and reduce costs.
Public safety applications include capitalizing on the information provided by cell phones with built-in GPS. During an emergency situation, you can track exactly where people are and provide them with
|Contact: Hermant Jain|
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee