I am imagining a world where my phone, connected to the internet, communicates my location to my front door so that it automatically unlocks upon my arrival. My kettle is WiFi-enabled, and so the coffee machine has a fresh cuppa ready for me, black. Just how I like it.
The TV is turned on, and a bath has been run so all I need to do is collect my coffee, and get in. Most of us would call that a dream after a hard day’s work; some may find it disturbing, but having the internet know our every move and predict our next action based on our routine is the future.
The concept behind the Internet of Things (IoT) is that every ‘thing,’ whether a light switch, blood pressure monitor or vending machine, will collect information. By having a microscopic computer installed, each object will have its own story which it can tell by being connected to the internet. If each piece of equipment were assigned a unique identifier (i.e. IP address), these machines can communicate, creating a database of information. Having all of the world’s data in one place means we are able to track everything and identify where costs and waste can be reduced. We can predict what is going to happen and when. The opportunities are endless.
We have already started to see IoT applications appear, with kettles you can instruct to boil just using your smartphone. The launch of Apple Watch has opened up further opportunities, with alarm.com releasing an app that allows you to check locks and alarms in your home whilst out on the road. Nevertheless these inventions, however innovative they are, still require us to interact and make requests using smartphones or wearables. The IoT will really come into its element when this is taken to the next level. Interaction won’t be required, everything will just fall into place around you, because the World Wide Web knows you and what you like to do daily.
It may be a little unnerving, how intelligent the internet will one day be, but there are also numerous advantages. I for one look forward to a cup of coffee and maybe even my scrambled eggs and toast being ready for when I get back from a run on a Sunday morning.
A more serious example could be if you fell ill – you would most likely be wearing a fitness tracker or similar gadget, tracking your blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and perhaps using your smartphone to log your calorie intake and exercise regime. Your doctor will receive all this information in real-time. This will mean that if you start to develop symptoms of becoming unwell, both you and your doctor will be given an alert and you can be prescribed preventative treatment so you may never actually become ill.
The Internet of Things is about creating connected spaces through the power of information and data. It’s about providing contextual, relevant and timely information to each and every person that will undeniably make our lives easier and more efficient. That is when we will all inevitably be buying and adopting wearable tech and WiFi-connected kettles.
Don’t forget, this will also transform the way you and me, businesses and agencies, will transform the way we market and sell, creating a new generation of digital experiences to meet the expectations of audiences that are evidently amplifying.