Opinion: Progressing IoT From Neat to Necessary

Opinion Progressing IoT From Neat to NecessaryThe following is a guest contributed post to MMW from Janelle McCarthy of Raster.

The internet of things (IoT) is the network of devices that are becoming connected to each other as well as to people and it’s pushing its way to the foreground of technology, but sometimes in a questionable way. Many IoT devices that have been created in the beginning have been pretty neat, but not really necessary. Tons of these gadgets are cool and interesting but don’t have a meaningful purpose and don’t necessarily make our lives any easier.

This tends to be a trend when new technology emerges. In the beginning, we see fancy devices that are new and exciting but don’t contribute to our lives in the way that we would hope. They can communicate with each other and do things that technology couldn’t do before, but sometimes they just aren’t useful in daily life. Take for example, toothbrushes with Bluetooth. At first, it sounds kind of cool, right? But when you think about it, what the hell is the point of having a toothbrush with Bluetooth? They can record how long and how hard you’ve been brushing your teeth, but you can just as easily do that yourself.

There are even toasters that connect to the internet and record how often you use them. If one notices that you aren’t using it very often, it will wiggle its handle in attempt to grab your attention. If you still continue to neglect it, it will eventually post itself for sale online. It’s pretty nifty, but why would you need a toaster that connects to the internet and to other toasters? I’ll admit I could spend hours occupied by funny and cool IoT devices, but we don’t need more entertainment, we need technology that will improve our lives.

When we talk about IoT, we want to see connected devices that can make our lives easier and simpler, not that add unnecessary clutter. You wouldn’t want to wake up one day wanting to make toast to find out your toaster sold itself online. IoT devices can do much more to benefit us than just letting us know when we haven’t used our toasters in a while or tracking how long we’ve been brushing our teeth. These devices are just the precursor to necessary technology as long as we continue moving forward and don’t get stuck focused on the ‘neat’ we will begin to see connected technology that is truly life changing.

We have the technology to keep track of our health and send it to our doctors without even thinking about it or lock our front doors from a mobile app if we forget to do it when we leave the house. Connected devices have the ability to help keep us healthy and safe, and that should begin taking priority over devices that are just neat.

The Nest Protect is a device that detects smoke and carbon monoxide and alerts any smart devices of yours in the case of an emergency. It’s devices like these that are made to keep people safe that should be the main focus of IoT. Devices like the Fitbit that keep track of health and exercise are extremely useful because they can help people take care of themselves and track their health and progress.

Now is the time to start moving past devices that are cool and start moving into devices that are meaningful. IoT developers need to start thinking of what will help improve people’s quality of life and start doing it.