Nine thoughts about the Internet of Things

1. The concept of ‘computers’ is moving away from the traditional model of desktops, laptops, and PDAs towards converged networks where processing power is embedded in all manner of objects and devices.

2. As a result of embedding computing power into these objects, we will move from keyboards and mice to a number of different input devices, including gestural controls (such as Wii wands and touch screens) and voice recognition. The conventional metaphor of the ‘desktop’ may need to shift to accommodate this.

3. Because many of these objects will have wireless sensors, they will be context-aware and can respond to changes in their environment. The possibilities for this have not yet begun to be explored in a significant way.

4. There will increasingly be a digital overlay of information for the physical world. First,
associating an IP address with these objects enables thing-to-person (T2P) and thing-to-thing (T2T) communications. This has been referred to as ‘the Internet of things.’ Second, innovations such as QR codes on posters, billboards, and television enable us to create direct ‘hotlinks’ from the real world to the Internet. Third, mobile phones or PDAs equipped with GPS enables locative media. The possibilities for this, too, have not yet begun to be explored in a significant way.

5. Digital widgets may replace some physical devices. As has become common with Web 2.0, independent developers will create apps for this platform, enabling functionalities that were never conceived of by the original creators. Adding features to your networked home or smart object may be as simple as downloading upgraded software to your iPhone.

6. These technologies will be as transformative as the Internet for a number of industries. In particular, the industries which have resisted change and innovation will be the ones most profoundly affected. It will be very difficult to ignore these innovations and still remain competitive.

7. There is significant market potential for these innovations. Many of these concepts will
follow the conventional diffusion of innovation, and will likely begin in industrial sectors
before filtering out to more commercial and entertainment applications. The adoption of
these technologies will be driven in part by market forces (technologies that entertain or
which enhance the quality of life) and in part by policy change (especially for technologies
regarding green buildings, energy efficiency, and alternate energies).

8. Networked objects create and record significant amounts of real-time data. Having this granular level of data allows us to create much more sophisticated analytics around how objects and devices are actually used.

9. Industry groups, corporations, and individual products will need significant advertising
and public relations support for their launch and ongoing marketing efforts.

10. Marketing firms which establish an early understanding of and dominance in these sectors will have an competitive advantage. These firms will not only understand how these
technologies can be used as platforms for new marketing strategies, but can also use that
knowledge to sell conventional marketing and PR services. The next generation of technology will be mostly marketed using social media.

One of the Hammersmith Papers exploring how good design is inherently courteous design:

Click to access courteous.pdf

Looking forward to your thoughts on the examples in the piece. Feel free to add any examples of either flagrantly discourteous design, or thoughtful design.

There are presently slightly under 1.5 billion PCs connected to the Internet, and just over 1 billion net-enabled phones. Mike Nelson (former director of Internet Technology at IBM, the former director of Technology Policy with the FCC, and a professor at Georgetown’s Communications, Culture & Technology program) estimates that as we move from an “internet of PCs” to an Internet of Things, that there will be roughly 100 billion net-enabled devices within the next 5-10 years.

More on this in Hammersmith’s upcoming Networked Objects and The Internet of Things report.