If we understand things correctly the Internet of tomorrow will be seamless, ambient, and blend right into our everyday lives in ways that we hardly notice. None of us think about how electricity moves from the power stations to the transformers to the home outlets. Similarly, the internet will become a lot ‘like electricity’; in fact, connectivity will become so common that we’ll take it for granted. The ways that we see Big Data, Internet of Things, and AI served up in our lives today through smart systems, mobile devices, and cloud services are just a preview of what’s ahead!
The future internet will become harnessed to our bodies and personas in ways that we never imagined. Our eyes, ears, and other senses, as well as our arms and hands, will become extensions of our digital selves. Wearable technology coupled with augmented reality will give us new and exciting ways to access real-time data and interact with our environment.
Pew Research’s Digital Life in 2025 report says that wearable technology and augmented reality will become intrinsic to our lives. It declares: “Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially tied to personal health.” Augmented reality provides real-world interaction with one’s physical surroundings through “augmented” (or supplemented) computer generated sensory input such as sound, video, and graphics.
The most popular expression of all this is Google Glass. As we grow accustomed to seeing our world through multiple information layers this type of technology will dramatically transform the way we interact with our surroundings. A not too unlikely scenario of the application of this technology is provided by one writer as follows:
Picture arriving home from work, and the door of your house automatically unlocks to let you in as you walk up to it. Inside, your NPR app comes on the glasses screen and you can tune in or change the channel while you fiddle with turning on the connected sprinkler system for your lawn. Your Nest thermostat app then pops up on your Google Glass screen to let you know that you’ve been good this week and saved a lot of energy, but with a wink you override the conservation mode and crank up the heat.
Google Glass, of course, is also a wearable technology and we should expect this market – like most disruptive technologies – to become much more affordable and widespread in the near future. The biggest application of wearables now is as health-tracking devices. Fitbit is a popular form of wearable technology that traces one’s daily steps, sleep time, calorie burn, and other health and fitness metrics through a little device that sits on one’s wrist. You can sync the device to your cloud-based dashboard anytime during the day to see instant updates of your fitness and health. We will soon arrive at a point where real-time health tracking can be used to determine health insurance premiums. Microsoft also recently announced that its jumping into the wearable market with a sensor-rich smartwatch that monitors heart rate and will sync with mobile devices.
Innovative organizations will start adopting these technologies now. They will stay ahead of the curve. But getting there takes time, planning, and strategy. Don’t boil the ocean out of the gate but start small and incrementally by looking for ways to build sensor and wireless technologies into your infrastructure.
If your business hasn’t adopted the Internet of Things then get started today. The strategy could be as simple holding a company-wide contest for the best innovative ideas and giving away Fitbits as prizes. Then have another contest to see which employee has the most steps in a day, week, or month. Also, why not become a Google Glass beta tester and get used to interacting with your work environment through augmented reality.
Tech savvy organizations are already getting onboard with the future internet and the tsunami of changes it will bring to their doorstep in the next ten years. They see the internet as a massive engine of commerce and revenue on a scale not yet seen. Their infrastructure will be a complex system of physical, cloud, and virtual systems communicating together in sync to provide real time communications. This network will leverage the latest advances in wearable and augmented reality through technologies like Google Glass and Fitbit. These digital businesses will capture Big Data and experiment with AI-driven smart machines that anticipate customer needs and provide 360 degree views of their behaviors in order to offer superior service.
The future of the Internet is already here and your organization can’t afford to wait!