From the age of GoT to IoT: Staying human, staying relevant

Exaggerating just a fair bit, 90% of the world’s connected population are more in tune with the Game of Thrones (GoT) series than they are with the subject of the 'Internet of Things (IoT)'.

I did a dipstick survey and out of 10 people I spoke to, eight could name more characters in GoT than examples of IoT. Funny given that we are major active and passive participants and contributors in the age of IoT everyday, and that we have supposedly evolved from the medieval to the digital age already.

I personally am trying to get use to the term more than the definition of it. Grammatically it doesn’t sound right, but practically, I am surrounded by it in my life at work and at play, and even when I sleep (who else still wears a wearable to sleep?).

Amazon Echo, FitBit, Smart TV, and Connected Cars are just some of the more mass consumer ‘IoT’ products. There are many more across different industries, and there will be many more that will be created and made possible given the rapid velocity of technological advancements.

There are many articles out there that talk of IoT, its definition, cons and benefits. But in this article, given the level of connectivity we now have and how much we are surrounding and adorning ourselves with devices, I will discuss how we it actually makes us more relevant and human.

With the convenience and efficiency brought on by IoT, there have been people who fairly pointed out that it has also made people lazy, over reliant on their devices; asking Siri, ordering through your Echo, or your Smart Home system telling you if there is a leak at your house.

A funny and ironic comparison that I have heard was, “People don’t think for themselves anymore. They’re like robots”. That comment itself would warrant for another article on A.I.

So I see the glass half full with potential to be filled. I believe IoT is necessary for us to progress and improve as the machines are learning at the same time. The collection of vast amount of data, and the ability to accomplish personal and business goals at higher benchmarks cannot be possible if we do not have the tools or bandwidth to do so.

Simple things like being able to track your parcel online serves to benefit many parties on many levels; customers, businesses, and logistics providers. Large savings can happen, and I am not just referring to financial savings, but savings on energy (NEST device), resources (Recycling) and manpower (DHL Logistics) which can be divested elsewhere to make even more impact.

I have faced pushbacks from others (who have their right to disagree) when I shared my view on how this fourth revolution does not take jobs away from people. Like how energy does not get destroyed but rather just changes from one form to another, it is the same thing with jobs. These jobs do not necessarily cease to exist, they evolve and along with it, people need to upskill and evolve too to stay relevant in their jobs.

Is it such a bad thing to grow, learn, and be better? Is it not innate in us to learn, that is why we build machines that do likewise?

Having access to IoT can and has the ability to allow us to be more productive and focus on the more important things that require attention. Have you tried and enjoyed the control and automation of having a Smart Home? Again not anymore different than you would get a housekeeper to help with the housework so that you can focus on the upbringing of your child.

Lastly, I think it has given us (including companies) the capacity to be more human. With increase efficiency, control and productivity, we have more time for our families, our health and fitness, and developing our own hobbies or interests. This also includes having more time for charity work and to help others, and for organisations to be more socially responsible towards the environment.

Not to mention with all the data that are harnessed (albeit vast and sometimes unstructured), we have more insights and tools to be more creative at problem solving and communicating. Yes the devices have the logic, we have that too and a sense of creativity.

So yes in the age of IoT, I choose to believe that it gives us the capacity and motivation to be more human and relevant, depending on how you see the half glass of water.

Maybe I’ll have a glass half full while watching my first ever episode of Game of Thrones.

Cheryl Guzman Ng is APAC marketing and communications director at Xaxis Group. She can be found tweeting at @iemeux