My Internet of Things?

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Welcome Apple! The Homekit is the latest entry into a crowded world of home automation. Along with big names like Google, Samsung, Comcast…, this market is full of small manufacturers who have their own controlling apps. In fact an acquaintance just created a device and an app using his own standards.

Given the projected size of the market (Gartner:$300B by 2020), the commercial interest is completely understandable. But will this market live up to it’s promise? In the home sector, it will depend upon it’s usability.

As a potential end user, I am starting to get confused. Should I buy every device from the same manufacturer based on the promise of integration? Should I buy what I want and use individual apps? Should I wait for Apple to release more information? Should I wait until standards start appearing? Should I just give up now?

As a potential end user, I would like to buy what I want and be able to plug it into whatever controlling application I choose to use. I can buy a mobile phone and choose any provider, right? I would like the device to be discovered and configured. I would like analysis on the data from the device (if appropriate) and I would like to be able to intuitively control it (again, if appropriate). And then, there is the issue of security, but let us leave aside for the purposes of this article.

I believe that the strength of the manufacturer comes from the work the device does and how well and efficiently it does it. I believe that the strength of the integrator comes from the usability of the controlling application. How easy is it for me to find a particular device, control it’s features. How well does the application perform the analysis and show me results. The strength of either does not lie in limiting my choices through control of the eco-system.

I understand that standardization is a difficult exercise. I understand that the commercial aspect should and will take precedence. But, my understanding also is that the long term commercial benefits will be better if standardization is achieved earlier.

I am sure Apple will blow me away with it’s usability. I hope it does. I hope it succeeds. But, I also hope it works with everybody else to create an open eco-system, not a closed one. Right now, it is way too hard for the end user to make sense of the Internet of Things.

What do the 9-to-whatevers think?

What Would You Like With Your WT?

Wearable Technologies

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“Wearable Technology” is coming! It is coming in all shapes and forms. Whether you are a gadgeteer, a technologist, a fashionista, a carbon saver, or just walk the streets, you have a stake in what happens here…

From my perspective, this is a chance for technology to do some things right, right from the start.

Technology

  • Don’t make my smartphone do ALL the work. It is the hub, but protect my battery and help my pants stay up by keeping mobiles light and avoiding multiple battery packs. Distributed? Peer to peer chats where needed?
  • Standards and interoperability? Please don’t create a closed ecosystem. I don’t want to have to change my pacemaker because my smartphone died
  • Integrate, integrate, integrate! Create a whole, not a sum of the parts. I want a solution and not an architecture to plug things into. I do enough of that at work

Usability

  • Make my experience soar. Make things clean, easy to connect and easy to use. Please don’t fry my brain
  • Make information readily available at the right-time. Don’t bombard me in real-time until I ask. I have trouble concentrating as it is
  • Talk to the fashion people. I may be a geek, but I don’t want to look like one all the time. I prefer the look and feel of the image on the left.
  • Allow a device to charge others. I have run out of USB ports, especially for anything that is inside my body
  • Please make the charging wireless. My desk is a mess of wires; not sure I want to replicate it on my body

Save The Earth

  • Make use of all the things that have been touted – solar, piezo, etc. If I have to move and be in the sun to make my gadgets work, I can avoid the couch potato experience

Security And Privacy

  • Please use biometric security or whatever it takes. While I will be delighted to know my pulse after running at top speed for 3 minutes, I am not sure I want the person on the park bench to know it
  • Please have a clear visual indicator that cannot be disabled. I REALLY want to know when I am being recorded in video or audio. I need to be very careful what I do online; please leave me some space in the offline world
  • I am interested in spying on myself and myself alone. Help me not spy on other people and protect me when somebody else wants to spy on me. Difficult? Well, the size of this market with and without this feature would be an interesting clue…

There are choices in front of all the firms looking to get into this field, and believe me, there are a lot of them. The successful ones should be the ones that care about what we want. The question is if we care enough about what we want to make it a reality.

What do the 9-to-whatevers think?