By Udita Shukla
This article is a part of the 2017: Changemakers Series
Connectivity has gripped almost every stage of human life. Starting out as a seemingly timid facilitator of communication in a cabled telegram system, wireless interfaces have revamped the way we perceive and consume technology. Smart watches, connected cars, virtual health clinics, among many others, are expected to hit the shelves in 2018.
Known as the Internet of Things (IoT), the labyrinth of inter- and intra-house connectivity of commonplace devices (like wristbands, wearable belts, and household lighting systems) able to communicate dynamically and control their working parameters, took centre stage at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017, Las Vegas. Businesses thriving and capitalising on consumer technologies are out for a major battle to grab the leading place.
One of the most anticipated advancements is in the area of ‘smart cars’. Equipped with a software interface, the new car on the block would be able to connect with the mechanic for emergencies, such as oil change, low tire pressure, and so on. Additionally, by combing through your personal calendar, appointment suggestions would be delivered straight to the user’s inbox, whereby the time could be confirmed with a single click.
As a saviour for medical patients, especially those on their own, RX (medicines permissible only by a certified physician) bottles could be connected to the doctor to be sent and received to the sick. Moreover, the connectivity would be able to facilitate a doctor’s appointment. All this, and perhaps, much more, via an inanimate medicine bottle!
Electric bills can now potentially be made friendlier by pairing household appliances to the Internet of Things. Based on dynamically changing prices, the extent of energy consumed by an appliance can be moderated to weigh less upon the electricity meter. The bill can further be mellowed down by automatic shutting down of appliances in case of an empty room. Another role of the IoT would be to make the thermostats and lighting systems adapt to the user’s optimal temperature and brightness levels, to tune up just right before they are switched on for use.
An intelligent traffic light automatically adjusting itself at the advent of an emergency vehicle (like a police van or an ambulance), road sensors controlling speed limits based on the weather and anticipated accidents, are expected to revolutionise day-to-day experiences of driving and commuting. What’s more, drivers would be able to receive warnings, alerts and suggestions right on their car dashboards about a potentially dangerous route or a heavily congested area.
A smart refrigerator would participate in updating of grocery lists in a scenario when it is running low on staples like eggs or milk, whereas also allowing stores to send notifications about the same. Based on historical purchasing behaviour and average buying trends, timely reminders could be delivered to the customer’s inbox while at a grocery store.
Wearable technology encompasses the suite of devices that can be strapped on to one’s body while on the move and can facilitate and monitor real-time health data to the user’s smartphone. Apple watch is one of the common examples which garnered instant market share in the segment. Monitoring of physical activity during workouts, tracking sleeping patterns, and measuring clinical progress are pathways that are steering this sector towards more sophisticated links, with multiple social media accounts. Eventually, this all amounts to more and more quantity and better quality of data collection that can be utilised in case of a future medical condition.
Objects into robots
Technology giants like Cisco, Panasonic, and Sharp have already announced projects to launch products which would be compatible with a networking system where machines would be enabled to interact among themselves, as well as the user. Interestingly, the more pertinent question is the reason behind the sudden outburst of connected devices that have turned seemingly inanimate objects into interactive robots.
In general, the heart of connectivity is user data. This data, coupled with real-time updates about personal behaviour and preferences of the consumer, proffers a mine of information to be capitalised upon. For instance, the search engine monarch, Google, took users’ search history to hit them with customised product advertisements and service updates. This flooded them with companies ready to pay for that information and channel their services to the end customer.
Similarly, any consumer technology enterprise would be able to understand the nerve of the market, thereby, helping it to develop and mould a product, still on the anvil, according to what its customers want. Although it is hard to predict the level of market penetration such systems are going to reach, we should certainly prepare ourselves for a never-before personal experience with services and products, sharing a channel with our smartphone, and even remotely connected to the internet.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius