It’s easy to get excited about devices – about the latest, newest and shiniest phone, band, tablet or watch. It’s also cool to think about how internet enabling our other devices makes our lives better, more efficient or simpler. Internet enabled TVs for example, play in this space. Same with internet-connected refrigerators, light bulbs, or air conditioning. They come with cool names like Nest or Emberlight and sit under the ever expanding category of “internet of things”.
And there is more. Way more. There are scales like Withings that connect to your home wifi to upload your weight and BMI ratings. There are wireless speaker systems like Sonos that pipe streamed music into the location of your choice. There are voice activated home automation systems, barbeques and crockpots that cook on command and even deadbolts that keep your home secure yet know when you approach.
But they are all distractions.
Because it’s not really about the internet of things. It’s the “internet of me”.
Just as the size of mobile phones have collapsed while their power has increased, the same will occur with digital sensors. Just look at the mCube accelerometer that’s only one millimetre across. Accelerometers are the technology that measure movement and vibration. If you have a mobile phone, you have an accelerometer. They are the things that detect that you are picking up the phone, walking or driving (or moving etc) up a hill or down it. They are used in your car to trigger air bags in a car crash – and there are hundreds of other uses.
But the most interesting thing about this latest, small version is what it means for technology – it allows it to disappear. Just think, no one wants to wear Google Glasses because they are ugly, clunky in interface and intrusive in a social environment. It’s as if no one in the Googleplex thought for a moment about the social use of technology (surprise, surprise, they’re all technologists) – and by “social” it is about the three important social outcomes explained by Tara Hunt – does this get me made, laid or paid?
And at the heart of this focus is one thing. Me.
It’s time we forgot the “internet of things” and started thinking the “internet of me”. And then, maybe, we just might (not) see these technologies turning up in a fabric nearby.
And that’s when it will all get very interesting.