Earlier, I discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) impacts the way we learn, work and innovate and posed some questions about the future of IoT.
The first question was: How can we link interactive and personalized digital experiences with these millions, billions and trillions of inanimate objects to create the Internet of ALL Things?
Most of the things in the world around us are not IT enabled, and probably will never have compute, storage and networking embedded. Think about the things you buy on a supermarket shelf – a bottle of wine or a box of cereal. Consider all the paper products we still interact with – the 50 trillion pages that are printed every year as office documents, magazines, books or billboards. And don’t forget about all the inanimate objects we manufacture or will increasingly 3D print in the future.
Now more than ever we need to humanize technology and make it more tangible, more intuitive and more immersive. We need to harness technology so it works for us – automating the mundane, enhancing our capabilities and creating new, richer experiences for us.
At HP we’ve developed a platform called HP Link that enables many of the inanimate objects around us to have digital services associated with them. This will allow someone to embed digital information into anything printed or made, and then control what happens when that link is activated through a phone, another device or wearable. More importantly, it will allow that digital experience to change over time based on the user’s context.
So imagine you’re shopping for a new printer. While in the store you could point your phone at the product packaging, and get demos and product information to help you make a purchase decision. Then if you buy the product and take it home, you might get installation and product tip videos instead, because your context is different. You’re now the product owner, not a potential buyer.
Soon the things we touch, see and sense will interact with our digital worlds in a much more seamless way. At HP we call the fusing together of our physical and digital worlds, Blended Reality.
And if you think of Blended Reality as the fusing of our physical and digital worlds, IoT is a poster child example of how this works. IoT is all about sensing our physical environment and the things in our physical world. We then pull that information into the digital world, where it can be analyzed, and we can then use the results of that analysis to act back on the physical world, to turn on our lights, to direct the flight patterns of our planes, and to enhance our experience in the physical world.
Next, I posed this question: What ecosystems, platforms and design principals need to be developed to deliver end-to-end IoT experiences?
I believe IoT is so much more than just connected things, and it needs an integrated technology stack to implement, from devices to services. This technology stack is complex enough that no single company can do it all, and an ecosystem of partnerships is needed to deliver end-to-end solutions and services to customers. In other words, building an ecosystem around your offering becomes critical to success.
Platforms also become strategic because there are many different device/service combinations. You need a platform strategy to leverage your investments, and to be able to reuse technology components to go after multiple verticals and opportunities. You also need something to build an ecosystem around, and this is why you see so many companies opening up their platforms, to attract developers and innovation around their offerings.
But to really reap the full potential of IoT, we will need to move beyond standalone platforms and closed ecosystems. If we want to move to a fully-interconnected world, from things on the Internet, to an Internet of Things, we will need to figure out a way to enable an open, interoperable environment where all of these devices and services can plug and play, and where services we haven’t even dreamt of yet can be easily implemented within existing markets, or more interestingly, across market and industry boundaries.
We also need to design compelling experiences for end-users, whether consumer or commercial. IoT services that touch human beings need to be designed with the human experience front and center. Experiences that are immersive, contextual and enjoyable.
Now that you’ve heard my thoughts on IoT, how do you think IoT experiences will impact our every day lives? Leave your comment below.