On Thursday we hosted our first ‘digital futures’ event of 2015 at the Watershed in Bristol and personally I think it was one of our best to date! The conversation was flowing with everyone sharing their experiences – both personal and from a business perspective – of the topics covered. The mix of brands and sectors was fantastic and fuelled some interesting conversations and debates.
One of the topics Stacey, Jamie and I covered in the content was ‘The Internet Of Things’. This is a topic we’ve been discussing over a number of months now during our internal innovations team meetings, adding to the examples constantly and with the team sharing their personal experiences – and something we’re expecting to be talking about for a while; the research tells us that the number of active wireless connected devices was on course to exceed 16 billion at the end of last year, about 20% more than in 2013. This number looks set to more than double from the current level, with 40.9 billion forecasted for 2020 globally.
Thinking about where we are today, we’re seeing connected devices creep in to everyday life more and more thanks to the likes of big brands taking their technology to that next step, for example Samsung and their smart fridges.
Where we’ve seen some real traction is with wearable tech. We’re seeing successes in the form of health and fitness bands like the Nike+ fuelband and FitBit band and ‘disappointments’ in the form of Google glass, which they are now putting the brakes on.
During the digital futures event we had a real mix of opinions on connected devices and the internet of things. Examples like Hive, which British Gas is really pushing at the moment, were questioned. When it’s so easy to simply come home and flick your heating on, why do you need it? Isn’t it just laziness? One attendee shared a story about how telematics could be advanced to inform you of a breakdown ahead of time, ensuring you have the time to pull over safely and deal with the problem ahead of time. The argument against this was wouldn’t this just make you panic ahead of time?
One great example of how the internet of things could really be used well came from one of the charities in attendance. They gave the example of elderly or disabled adults who wanted to stay living at home for longer and how connected fridges that remind you to replace your milk, intelligent microwaves that know when your food is cooked, or smart plant monitors can keep your house plants alive can all work to make that happen, keeping someone safer at home for longer. This isn’t a usage I’d thought about before, but was something I can completely agree with and see a use for.
Personally I’ve just bought my first ‘smart’ bit of kit for home; a smart TV, but that’s me for now and I have to admit I’m not in a rush for anything else at the moment. There are members of the innovations team embracing the internet of things though and they’re going to share their experiences here over the next few weeks, reviewing the products they use for you.
Some of the connected devices on the market today;
We look forward to the discussion at our next event, in London tomorrow and will of course /wp-content/uploads/fill you in on the main talking points!
If you’d like to attend one of our ‘digital futures’ events, please contact Clare: firstname.lastname@example.org who will send you the invite!