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.

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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?

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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.

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(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/

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