The IoT: Who Really Wins?

Now, I don’t consider myself completely technology incompetent nor do I consider myself much of a tech-geek either. I’ve never ever used or owned a FitBit for that matter, or don’t really ever intend on buying myself an Apple smart watch because a) I can barely afford more than 3 sushi rolls from that sushi place on campus, and b) well is it really going to make my life that much better?

I recently spoke to a friend who said that despite wearing his Fitbit  most days, it didn’t make a drastic difference to his health or lifestyle. Indeed it would depend on the consumer’s level of motivation. These Fitbit statistics indicate that, of the 190 million registered users only 9.5 million are active as of mid-last year.

I suppose this is all besides the point, because whether we like it or not, these smart devices are indeed becoming a reality (and represent only a small fraction of where the internet of things is headed) as consumers become more reliant on technology. In fact, Cisco estimates that by 2020, computers (including PC’s, tablets, and smartphones) will represent only 17% of all internet connections while the other 83% will result from the IoT, including wearables and smart home devices.

5349929

Smart accessories such as the aforementioned FitBit and any other wrist-borne fitness trackers will soon feel less cool than the type of smart clothing being manufactured and sold today by major companies such as OMsignal. In fact, this year the company will be launching their so called “OMbra”, which will be sold alongside their other already existing smart t-shirts for men. You can check it out here.

But it doesn’t just stop there. Engadget (2016) state that these products might only just be stepping stones to what is truly in-store for the future as wearable devices become increasingly connected to our bodies, almost like implants (Anderson and Rainie, 2014).

Researchers at the University of Tokyo are working on wearable displays that effectively “blend into our skin”. As it is currently in it’s prototype stage, it only has the capacity to detect blood oxygen concentration levels, however further development will result in many possibilities and eventually they will appear as tattoos on our bodies without the surrounding film. Freaky but somewhat cool right?

skin-display-university-of-tokyo
The University of Tokyo, Someya Group Organic Transistor Lab (engadget.com)

This is more likely to be revolutionary for athletes, fitness junkies and the elderly (or perhaps even be used as toys for the wealthy (Anderson and Rainie, 2014)). But as for young, healthy, ordinary individuals such as myself, will these devices actually make a difference to our lives?

The large amounts of data recorded by these devices may just be more useful to the marketer than they might ever be to us.

Of course, a downside will be how to efficiently structure and analyse all of this data, but once this is overcome there will be major concerns surrounding the pervasive nature and exactly how our information is being used and who it is being sold to. I definitely wouldn’t want some ghost company monitoring every aspect of my health and then bombarding me with offers and program incentives just because I’ve fallen over and my heart rate goes through the roof. Essentially what this means is less control for us, and more $$$ for them. Although, if it comes in the form of Baymax take my money pls.

Big-Hero-6-Baymax-pain
(Source)


What do you guys think?

Other resources:

The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025 (2014): htp://www.pewinternet.org/2014/05/14/internet-of-things/
http://www.statista.com/statistics/302482/wearable-device-market-value/http://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemlee/how-many-people-actually-use-their-fitbits#.nl2lJE1a8
http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/the-future-of-wearable-tech/
http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/omsignals-performance-tracking-biometric-clothing-line-launchestoday/#/2http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/17/skin-display/
https://internetofshit.net/the-internet-of-things-has-a-dirty-little-secret-28bce2d412b2#.s9qkdh797
http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/smart-clothing-is-the-future-of-wearables/

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “The IoT: Who Really Wins?

  1. Hey Nikki
    I was actually reading about the new “e skin” and felt the need to comment because i didn’t know someone would actually write about it. I don’t really know i feel about this idea because it seems like so many things could go wrong. As someone who doesn’t ever want to get a tattoo, to have this tattoo like print on my skin doesn’t sound too appealing. I prefer investing money into an actual object such as a fitbit/apple watch (but i don’t have either cause i too am i poor university student that lives off $1 cokes).
    Just my personal opinion about fit bits though, i feel that with the increase trend in health consciousness, people are spending more money for fitness clothes/shoes/accessories. BUT how many of them are actually fit? Girls particularly love to wear sporty clothes to give off the appearance that they’re healthy, active and have complete control of their lives. Lets be honest though, most of the girls i talk to and know all admit that its just comfortable clothing and “trendy”. Fitbit just seems like another fitness accessory which people wear in order to portray this fitness image and it does seem like a waste of money. If people want to track their steps/heartbeat/calories there are so many apps that allow you do that. These devices don’t always gives an accurate indication of everything you do. Similar to a treadmill you can be running at a certain speed but you aren’t always burning all the calories that it claims. Hence i feel that fitbit is just a waste of money and something that people purchase because they want to feel trendy and fit.
    I’ve done a post on google glass and samsung smart hub which are both two different IoT devices that serve different functions. I would really appreciate it if you could give it a read and leave a comment on your thoughts!

    Jackie
    P.S If Baymax was for sale then say goodbye to my savings

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jackie! Thanks for commenting!
      I agree with you that in most cases FitBit’s aren’t actually used for what they’re intended for. It might actually be quite problematic for the company if they’re not getting a whole lot of active subscribers who are serious about the product. But i’d also say it depends on the consumer’s lifestyle. Although I don’t use one now, who knows maybe one day when I’ve graduated from uni and have a bit more time on my hands i’ll hit the gym and decide that it’ll finally come in handy. And yes the “e skin” freaks me out too! It just seems so unnatural to have something like that stuck on your own skin.
      Will definitely give your post a read! 🙂
      Nikki

      Like

  2. I’ll admit I am guilty of being part of that fitbit statistic! I lost the charger and never bothered to get a new one… and somehow I’ve still managed to get through my everyday life 1 year later. On that fitness note, I actually just had an ad come onto my Facebook newsfeed of an intelligent skipping rope that tracks your performance.
    Really interesting post though! I’ve never heard of these “e skins” before and just looked it up. I imagine if the technology was put to good use it could be really revolutionary, especially in medicine, but I have a feeling it’ll become an accessory first. You do make a really good point on how companies could use that information though- they could be advertising Vitamin C supplements as we become aware we have cold.
    I look forward to reading your next posts 🙂
    Alie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An intelligent skipping rope might actually come in handy! I know when I do get a work out in it can be particularly annoying when I’ve lost track of my jump count.
      I also agree that it may become an accessory in the short term, and its success will really depend on how well developed and essentially how convenient it will actually be to us… although it definitely sounds more promising for the future of medicine!
      Great example too – it’s scary to know that companies will know what we need/want before we actually even know ourselves!
      Nikki

      Like

  3. Hey,
    Good post. I don’t like the idea of people monitoring me either. Do you think people are going to be eventually forced into these wearables? For example certain companies offer you discounted insurance premiums if you own and operate a fitbit which is pretty transparent. With facebook it’s kind of like you’re forced into having it. If you don’t it’s really hard to communicate with friends and stuff but also companies now analyse you facebook profile and if you don’t have one apparently they view you as sketchy and your chances of getting the job are diminished. So it feels as though that’s the way were going with wearable too.

    would love to hear your thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Avvoo!
      That’s a great point. As horrible as it sounds, I definitely think there will be a lot of pressure to conform particularly when savings are such a major factor – most people would want to jump at this opportunity. In essence it does provide value for both parties because who wouldn’t want to improve their own health and be rewarded for it? It seems like a good idea to me. The only concern is that being healthy and fit requires a genuine willingness, and in reality this is often quite hard to maintain. For the first few months sure, motivation may be high, but a lack of long-term dedication might actually see us paying more for insurance premiums than we are actually saving! Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Like

  4. Aiman Saripuddin says:

    I agree with everything that you said in this post. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a thing of wonder, but I believe it will one day shatter human lives. I have a theory that in the far future, IoT devices are going to be embedded into every human being; much like the example you gave from researchers in University of Tokyo. These devices installed are able to detect every single cell movement in the body and also prevent us from sickness and diseases. Who knows? Governments around the world can utilise it to detect our every movement. Even Huffington Post’s blog title was “The Future of the Internet of Things is Amazing, If We Don’t Muck It Up” (Alisa Valudes, 2015) Security and standards are the main worries of IoT. Potentially in the future, all connected devices can be hacked into and cause major disaster. Complexity of IoT is another difficulty. The more complex the system is, the higher are the opportunities of failure (Bhaskara Reddy, 2015). Sannapureddy’s article on Pros & Cons of Internet of Things (IoT) mentioned a great example of failure. Maybe a bug in the IoT software ends up automatically ordering a new ink cartridge for your printer each and every hour for a few days, or at least after each power failure, when you only need a single replacement.
    However if taken care well, IoT can go on to benefit all. Better information helps make better decisions. The amount of time saved could be large. When widely adopted, economies of scale will reduce prices of IoT enabled-devices thus saves everyone money. All this, if go as plan, can help provide a better quality of life.
    The future is both exciting and scary at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Aiman! There’s no doubt a high-level of risk is involved with the IoT, but just about everything in life has its pros and cons. If the future of this is to ever be successful, consumers must be able to extract a decent amount of value from it and it is the company’s job to ensure that the system is one we can trust despite the many complexities. Some great points you’ve provided and really appreciate the comment! 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s