The age of IoT is creeping quickly, aiming to keep us connected much more than we already are, and to many more devices we pass during our day. This is bound to affect our already crowded and overloaded lives, keeping us staring at our black mirrors and blurring the lines (or deleting them completely) between time on and off. Is it something we should worry about or are we still in control?
An “always-on” era
We may already think we’re constantly connected and that notifications are driving us crazy, but in the age of IoT, the ease of connectivity and device/wallet ubiquity will redefine what “always on” truly is; soon enough our complaints about information overload will be nothing compared to what is coming up: more access, more data, more locations and more coverage of our lives.
This constant connection will keep us on the grid constantly, making the real world and the virtual one inseparable; we will converse both offline and online, making us accessible no matter the location or the signal status.
From the time we wake, we will sync up to our coffee maker, toaster, and refrigerator; during our commute we will be connected to our cars, public transportation, stoplights, and billboards on the way; and as we roam the streets, our devices will window shop for us, hail a cab by a gesture, and even trashcans will have a piece of the action.
See also: What will be your primary IoT device?
Simply put, our entire being will be tracked, uploaded and broken down into bite-sized data to be accessed at work, at play and at rest. Privacy setting may be available, yet to adapt to this status and reap the opportunities, personal and intimate information will be shared and accessed.
It may sound scary, but many will see this as a positive direction: a step to real personalization and optimization of ourselves and our surroundings.
The real world and virtual world will be indistinguishable.
The other side of the coin
Don’t you think access to our personal data and increased knowledge could do some good? Consider how Fitbit entices some to exercise and live a healthier lifestyle.
IoT may contribute in so many ways we cannot even fathom, from our personal to work lives.
Just a few examples: our refrigerators notifying us prior to milk running out; our shower limiting time to save on water and/or avoid cold water; elevators updating the services to keep in-tune before it’s too late; our alarms waking us up according to our personal patterns, so our sleep is optimized; our commutes will be safer thanks to smart cities connecting stop lights to passing cars to traffic lights on the ground; birthdays, anniversaries and such events will not be forgotten, and we will be reminded to buy the special present to arrive on time; even our email will work on our behalf, so we can avoid irrelevant messages and stop wasting our main limited resource…time.
While these are just a few ideas, we can see how a personalized experience is potentially blissful.
With great power comes great responsibility
IoT will generate a plethora of data and knowledge which equal power, but the responsibility will remain our own and determine whether our experiences are positive (or negative).
We will end up experiencing both, but all the information will grant us an ability to optimize ourselves, our communities, and our environment.
All in all, things can be good, bad, and both. It is our choice at which proportion, and how IoT can give us a way to make the world a better place.
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.