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7thingsmedia Futurology Internet of Things

We need to lose the gimmicks for the 'Internet of Things' to succeed


By Chris Bishop, Founder & CEO

May 8, 2015 | 5 min read

Two weeks ago I presented an “Introduction to the Internet of Things” at the IAB UK’s London office alongside speakers from Twitter, Mindshare, DigitasLBi & TMW.

The internet of things-saving lives?

The strongest message was that we need to lose the gimmicks for the Internet of Things to succeed.

The night kicked off with the fact that most people understand the Internet of Things by the so-called connected fridge. They've seen some press from CES or read an article on TechCrunch summarising the fridge that micro-manages your diet, bottles of milk and maintains an acceptable amount of eggs at any one time.

We all need to move beyond this and explore the vast potential of the Internet of Things to prohibit the naysayers grasping onto gimmicky devices that serve little real value and wrongly aligning the next ground-breaking revolution as solely the thing that allows us to feed our pet remotely.

The "Internet" as we know now, that has revolutionised our lives (that most of us cannot now live without) is a product of people. It is made by people, for people, about people – such as books, images, commerce, Facebook even Tinder! This will be known as the Internet of People, and it changed the world.

The Internet of Things is a new Internet. This new "Internet" isn't just about connecting people, but also things (devices that are connected without the need of human-to-human or human-to-computer). The cool play is when these things interact, talk, listen and contribute with other things.The limitless potential of the Internet of Things is truly demonstrated when we look beyond the one device and imagine a world where technology will be able to sense, acquire data and communicate – instantly.

To grasp the power of the Internet of Things let’s look beyond the device. To date one of the most popular are the various wristband activity trackers. After monitoring your steps or physical activity for a couple of weeks most people end up throwing them back into the wardrobe. The initial step with these various wristbands is to serve up options to the user to benefit their life, well-being and aims.

Imagine your typical wristband that monitors your sleep. When blissfully asleep this wristband that is sensing my sleep cycles and understanding the most opportune moment to gently wake me up by vibrating my wrist or flashing a light. This can communicate to my lights, thermostat, coffee machine, toaster and garage door the instant that I'm awake. But it that solving a problem?

The jump is when the wristband is connected with other devices, and it communicates without the direct action of a person. The real PR story with the Internet of Things won’t be the convenience, it will be when it is a matter of life and death; when these connected devices that are woven into the fabric of our everyday life literally save our lives. Imagine again the typical wristband however, I am showing early signs of having a cardiac arrest. I'm having abnormal heart rhythm, all monitored by my wristband. Then sudden unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness.

The average time an ambulance takes to arrive at its destination in London is just over 6 minutes - that is if the person is able to dial 999. So now this wristband isn't just monitoring my sleep, heartbeat, steps etc. it is now communicating with the emergency services that I'm having a cardiac arrest. It has electronically called 999 for me, with my exact location, current condition and also medical history. The ambulance (potentially even driverless ambulance) gets preference at standard traffic lights (if they still exist) or via autonomous intersection management. As well as sending this information automatically to the emergency services this is also presented directly to the doctor at A&E who can immediately reference global treatment scenarios.

When this press hits TechCrunch – or more to the point the BBC website – then people will realise the power of the Internet of Things, and truly understand its function.

Until then, we are making half a revolution.

Chris Bishop, Founder of 7thingsmedia

7thingsmedia Futurology Internet of Things

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