The future is coming fast, connectivity is a commodity, and IoT is upon us; steadily taking shape, growing in popularity, and becoming a reality.
To assure growing adoption rates and usage, there are certain requirements and caveats on which we must agree. Otherwise, it will either be a passing trend or just an early adopter’s hope for mass acceptance.
So for IoT to truly become the “next thing” with all devices and users connected in and out of the home, we must take a look at the cost of connection, device type, and privacy.
Painless connectivity – “The Experience”
When referring to cost, we speak of the ease of connectivity and IoT protocol that is built in and available.
As with current digital products, services, and websites, we go through a variety of experiences that range from outstanding to awful. Just recall when you connect to a Bluetooth device, is it intuitive and painless or strenuous and difficult?
For mass IoT adoption, connectivity must be painless, quick, and intuitive – Anything different would be ignored and deemed useless.
Whether we personally see it beneficial or required, any device that could be connected will end up created (or upgraded) as so. There must be an IoT connectivity standardization as we have with current devices being ‘bluetooth enabled’, ‘wifi available’, built with “Intel inside” or IoT “wireless plug-and-play.”
This will be both a technical and logistical issue, as the ability to connect must be a non-issue on its own: either a “Yes” or a “No,” but not a “How.” Just like a good design: don’t make me think.
What about devices?
From our refrigerator to the stop light, to the office whiteboard, to the scale in the grocery store to…you get the point.
What one individual will see as useless, another will see as heaven sent. If individuals will find it useful, heck…connectable, then it will be adopted to the IoT landscape.
Users should have the choice of whether to connect or not and the amount of details needed to utilize available features.
In addition, it is likely devices will have various grades of intelligence, from simple to super-intelligent. For example, simple lightbulbs are either on or off, where a smart whiteboard would allow enhanced capabilities: image capture, sharing/collaborating, sync and more.
The key issue of privacy
Back in 2010, Mark Zuckerberg made a few comments how people no longer have an expectation of privacy. Since then, we can notice such a movement, as devices, websites, services, and products are requiring (not requesting) access to more and more personal info.
If this will be the case in the near future, privacy selection should be strict and crystal clear, so there won’t be a worry about why or the potential ethical dilemmas.
As with devices, I believe there will be a known standard and different preferences you can select between: fully personal, semi-personal, combo, semi-public and fully public.
While you have the capability to turn off specific “permissions” in certain apps today, it would be hell to do so for every single app, so a strict yet simple menu of privacy access should be the standard as to maintain ‘painless connectivity’. You should be able to limit the stream of data to know ahead of time which features won’t be available at each privacy level.
Take for example virtual personal assistants or Alexa: granting access to your contacts, calendar, email, and social life enables more features, but all such access is not needed at a friend’s house…in that case, you would be able to only join with permissions needed for temporary use.
IoT has the potential to grant many capabilities, yet intuitiveness would be a requirement to be picked up beyond the early adopters and have an easy set of rules to abide by, consisting of painless connectivity as well as device and privacy selection.
So while the IoT ground rules may vary, what do you think should be the ultimate IoT device you should always carry? Or will there be more than one?
The author is head of marketing at Knowmail, an artificially intelligent inbox assistant for professionals. He is an entrepreneur and creative with vast startup experience as well as mentoring and instructing venture creation and product management.