Commentary

The Internet Of Interrupting Things

One of the many promises of the Internet of Things is that the increasing number of smart and connected devices will make life a bit easier.

The idea of smart gadgetry or appliances knowing when to start and shut themselves off could free consumers from some decision-making, at least conceptually.

One of the most prolific devices and the primary IoT hub for now is the smartphone, which doesn’t always drive consumer-free actions.

During this holiday season, consumers are expected to tap into their smartphones and other technology to help them along, with most (79%) consumers saying technology enhances their enjoyment or relieves the stress of the holidays, according to a new survey.

However, technology can be distracting.

Many (41%) say they are frustrated that their family or friends are increasingly distracted with looking at their smartphones during the holidays, according to the survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Sequence.

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In the longer term, connected things will increasingly create more automation. Smart homes will be connected to cars and wearables will become freed from smartphone tethering.

In the shorter term, as in the realistically foreseeable future, smart and Internet-connected things will continue to digitally tap consumers on the shoulder. For example:

  • A Canary home monitoring device can watch the front door but also send a smartphone message every time someone walks in front of it.
  • A Fitbit tracker can monitor heartbeats, steps taken and miles walked and send haptic feedback to a wrist when a predefined distance is reached.
  • A smart or Internet-connected TV can notify the viewer that it’s time for a system update.
  • Beacons in stores can gather information from willing shoppers but also trigger messages to their smartphones.

Many connected things today still require human interaction and more smart things likely soon will be found under the Christmas tree. Consumers also have an interesting holiday wish list, according to the Sequence survey. If money was not a factor, these are the technologies consumers would want as a gift this holiday season:

  • 34% -- Smart TV
  • 28% -- Self-driving car
  • 15% -- Smartwatch
  • 12% -- Virtual reality headset
  • 11% -- Drone

No matter what smart or connected device consumers receive as a holiday gift, that device is highly likely to require some action on the part of the consumer.

6 comments about "The Internet Of Interrupting Things".
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  1. Mark Westlake from GearBrain, December 19, 2016 at 11:52 a.m.

    Good points, but the smart consumers will realize that they can control the amount of interactivity they want to have with their devices.  Thus, preventing information overload.  

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 19, 2016 at 2:31 p.m.

    Agreed Mark, once they figure out how.

  3. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, December 19, 2016 at 5:02 p.m.

    True, average consumers will not be able to prevent interruption/chaos overload. High tech enthusiasts might - but not real people. 

    Tech companies have always struggled to understand people and humanity. They are filled with individuals who firmly believe if they can make it then people have to love it. End of story. (I know. I spent nearly 15 years in tech...then switched to consumer marketing and, well, really listening to people.)

    The IoT is really the worst example of this disconnection between companies and real people. And that's why, truth be told, they're struggling. FitBit's work great. And then....um.... SmarTV's are bought because they're the only option and used barely for the  "smart" part. Self Driving cars are a narrow market value (big cities with intense sitting in traffic). SmartWatches? Narrow market again, it appears. Most of us really don't need a babysitter on our wrist.

    So I love Chuck's discussion. But I'm far more of an IoT curmudgeon than Mark...

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 19, 2016 at 6:46 p.m.

    Astute observation about all this working for "real people," Doug. You are correct on only a portion of the 'smartness' being tapped in smart TVs, which is also the case with many other smart devices.

  5. Marshall Paisner from LSI Industries Inc, December 20, 2016 at 9:02 a.m.

    Too much, too quickly.  Lots of hype and short on useful product delivery.  Useful is the key word.  People generally do not accept change so change must be in small amounts and must be exceptionally useful/beneficial for the change to stick.  Its like building muscle by lifting weights.  You have to lift a lot of weights on a regular basis to see even the smallest change.  Then you have to keep up the aggressive workout schedule to build more muscle.   People will eventually adapt to the "whatever it is of things" but it may take a generation or two.

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, December 20, 2016 at 11:13 a.m.

    Points well taken, Marshall. The technology sometimes comes faster than consumer behavior can handle.

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