Consumer technology has changed considerably in just the past few years. Faster computers, smaller phones and bigger televisions are the hallmarks of these technological breakthroughs. There is a new thread weaving these devices together that has the tech industry buzzing. It’s called the internet of things.
With promises to create a world of connected devices, the internet of things could change the way we live. The real question then isn’t will this new technology be beneficial to the average consumer, but rather how. Fortunately, such an ambitious technology brings with it numerous practical applications.
A Matter of Convenience
One of the most obvious selling points of this new technology revolves around a very important aspect of modern life. Today’s tech-savvy consumers expect a certain level of convenience when going about their daily lives and will oftentimes seek it out even if it ends up costing them a bit more in the end. A great example of this appetite for convenience is the recent trend towards online shopping over local retail. Consumers are valuing the convenience of shopping from their couch over the slight premium and wait time of delivery.
The internet of things stands to revolutionize the convenience of everyday living much the same as services like Amazon have revolutionized the way we purchase goods. This convenience is enabled by a simple principle tying common devices together in an intelligent manner. It really is that simple. By connecting objects that consumers use every day to the internet, trivial tasks from laundry to cooking dinner can be managed with less effort.
As a quick example, a person living in a home with a “smart thermostat” could easily change the temperature of the house from their smartphone without even getting off the couch. Taken a step further, should that same person be more invested in the internet of things, they could preheat the oven for dinner, turn on the porch light and begin recording their favourite TV show all before leaving the office at night.
Managing multiple objects from a central location is at the very core of this convenience. With the growing wearables market – think Apple Watch or Google Glass -, maintaining a convenient connection to the internet of things will only get easier. In the very near future, common household tasks could be accomplished with the items we put on every morning.
Making life easier at home isn’t the only thing the internet of things can do for the average consumer. This impressive tech trend has a penchant for making life safer too! Expanding upon the household experience, home security becomes easier and more effective when connected in a similar way.
The most obvious component here is the home security system. When added as a component of the internet of things, nearly every aspect of home security can be viewed, changed, and managed from just about anywhere in the world. In addition, things like cameras light bulbs, and even garage doors can be connected to form a cohesive fabric of home security.
This safety aspect transitions effectively to a much larger scale as well. By connecting the countless sensors monitoring the world at large, environmental risks can be easier to diagnose and important information more quickly gathered and distributed to the public. While this has obvious global applications – such as natural disaster monitoring and early warning systems – there are plenty of uses closer to home. Everything from water safety to road integrity is made more manageable which, in tum, makes life safer for the entire population.
A Smarter Way of Life
One of the great realizations of the information age is the direct relationship between the abundance of data and intelligent decision making. The simple truth is that the more information one has available when making a decision, the better that decision will likely be. Enterprise businesses leverage this idea in what they call “Big Data”. Consumers can now tap into a similar concept thanks to the internet of things’ ability to gather useful, personalized information.
This data can be collected from each connected “smart” device and then compiled into actionable information. Modem smartphones are perfect examples of this in practice. When a person goes about their daily routine with a smartphone in their pocket it can silently gather useful information about location, common tasks and related information about the user’s surroundings. After enough data is received, the phone can give the user automated information like predicted commute times and even potential conflicts with the weather and scheduled events.
When the effects of multiple smart devices are combined, the end result is a more efficient and informed way of life. This is all made possible with the wealth of practical information available from everyday objects. The internet of things simply provides a cohesive layer through which these objects can communicate. In doing so, consumers can improve their daily lives in meaningful ways.