In the not so distant future, my average workday will be different.
The smart watch on my nightstand will wake me and provide an overview of the day’s tasks. A quick glance at my aerobic activity will remind me to do a bit more walking today.
Coffee is automatically brewing as I enter the kitchen, and the refrigerator’s screen, synced with data from my watch, will recommend meals based upon my body needs. As I leave the house, my car’s computer sends a message to my smart thermostat that I am no longer home, which turns AC levels down to an optimally economical temperature.
Syncing with crowd-sourced traffic data, my car’s GPS re-routes me around a major accident, and I arrive at the office with just enough time to grab breakfast – which the diner has prepared to order, based on my projected arrival time and eating parameters, and which is automatically pre-paid with my smartwatch.
The point of all this? Interconnectivity is how the future will define us.
Our physical world is coming online via the Internet of Things. Our phones, tablets, computers, sensors, appliances, vehicles, homes, hospitals, offices and schools are all becoming digitally connected. The ensuing efficiencies, conveniences, services, functionalities, innovations and opportunities, carry the baggage of security risks, privacy concerns, and vulnerabilities.
The highest level of a given technology’s advancement and adoption is when it becomes so ubiquitous it is invisible. How often do you notice a light switch? What about a television? A Google search? All of these advances faded into the background. My future workday will be underpinned by thousands of interconnecting machines, which, when running smoothly, become undetectable. The Internet of Things will become the nuts and bolts that facilitate our daily experiences.
Yet, I believe the ‘Internet of Things’ is misnamed. The most important part of my futuristic workday is my experience, not my things.
The Internet of Experience is about creating products, as Ben Barone-Nugent writes in The Guardian, “where hardware, human habits, and physical spaces intertwine.” Developers should strive for consumer-centric invisibility, creating products that allow us to more seamlessly and efficiently exist.
Nike and their Nike+ integrated products are shining examples of this subtle yet central integration. A range of Nike+ apps allows for different experiences for walkers and runners, from GPS-tracking your run to viewing stats about the intensity of your physical activity on your smartphone. Nike’s well-earned success is derived from its focus on providing completely unique experiences instead of the tech specs that are peripheral to consumers.
As the Internet of Things revolution moves forward, it is important to remember that the consumer is the most important piece of the equation. Any company can create a “thing”, but few can claim to create an experience worth repeating.