Two cents blog

The future is here… Or is it?

by Alex Stone on 9 July 2015

Since the inception of the Internet way back when, being connected has always required human user interface. Long talked about, the Internet of Things (IoT) has now started to change how we connect and consume information. If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of years you can find out all about the IoT here. For the rest of you tech savvy folk read on…

It’s projected by the year 2020 over 50 billion devices will be introduced into the interconnected world of the IoT. It’s also expected by leading tech experts that the IoT will have five to ten times the impact on society than the Internet itself – amassing an estimated total value of over $19 trillion! These are some pretty impressive stats; but what does that actually mean for you and me? And will it affect our day-to-day living in the future?

Well to be honest with you all, I don’t have a crystal ball… and it’s actually a pretty hard gig to predict what types of application the IoT will result in. It’s easy enough to predict the technologies that may arise – just watch any sci-fi flick from the 70’s – but not the success of an application. Take the Internet for example. Virtually nothing that has come out of it – like social networks and people’s obsession with cat videos – was predicted by anyone.

However, there are a few things that I can guarantee. The IoT will make the world appear more natural. Say goodbye to your old clunky computers. Computer intelligence will make its way into everyday objects. The smartphone will be the computer of the future, linking the physical world to the Internet – and vice versa. Technologies like the iBeacon are already starting to make this a reality.

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This raises an interesting question.  If in 2015 iBeacon technology is already alive and kicking, why hasn’t it revolutionised the way we live? Well, it all comes down to its current implementation. Nobody wants to feel like they’re constantly being monitored and force-fed information through unwanted push notifications on their phone.

As human beings we are much more inclined to embrace technology that feels natural – almost invisible – as opposed to something that’s constantly getting in the way of the user experience.

Consider this scenario. I’m heading down to my local coffee shop. As I get closer, the cafes’ iBeacon picks up the Bluetooth signal being transmitted through my phone. It pushes my information through an app to the baristas tablet device, allowing him to see my name, regular order and any recommendations. Upon leaving the range of the cafes’ iBeacon, my purchase is charged to my account and the application sends a receipt directly to my phone.

Efficient, personal and most importantly natural – this is how iBeacon technology should be applied. We walk around with such sophisticated tech in our pockets, but it isn’t being used to its full potential. This is where wearable tech – especially things like the Apple Watch – will take hold, and the IoT will become more of a reality.

So, what do you think the future will hold for both iBeacon tech and the IoT?

Alex Stone is a Junior Digital Designer at BCM

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