Last Thursday the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) hosted a seminar on The Internet of Things (TIOT). Always eager to extend their knowledge, a crew of interested and enthusiastic affilinet colleagues headed down to the IAB offices to take part.
It seems that much concerning new technology these days can fall prey to hubris. But, while not without a dose of hype itself, it’s clear that TIOT is a substantial iteration in the ongoing evolution of tech and its integration into our daily lives.
Chris Bishop, founder of 7ThingsMedia, and the first speaker, quoted Kevin Ashton – recognised at having first coined the phrase – in defining TIOT as a scenario in which objects, animals or people have unique identifiers with the ability to transfer data over a network. And that this ability is independent of human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Chris took the audience through a consumer journey which deftly illustrated this definition in a scenario immediately relatable to all. His subject woke to the gentle vibration of his wristwatch; which, having monitored his sleep activated at the optimal time for him to wake. This in turn, triggered various other devices in the house, from lighting to the coffee machine, to the toaster, all primed to perform some function unprompted by any active action on the part of our consumer subject. Even his shirt was set to gently remind him to hug his girlfriend. Presumably, this could also be set to remind men of birthdays and anniversaries; something that will not doubt save many relationships moving forward.
With the number of connected things expected to rise to roughly 25 billion by 2020, it is in the areas of Auto, Health, Consumption and Utilities that TIOT things is set to have a truly great impact. Sergio Falletti,DigitasLBi, spoke of the companies who are actively investing in TIOT; the major players at the moment being – predictably – Google and Apple. He mentioned Google’s acquisition last year of NEST as the first major move in the tech giant’s increasing focus on the area. The $3 billion dollars they spent on it being an indicator of how seriously it is viewed within the industry.
In terms of sheer scale, measured in data terms, Neil Bruce of Mindshare, pointed to the fact that, currently, the digital universe is roughly 4.4 zettabytes large; and this is expected to rise ten-fold to 44. The increasing ubiquity of mobile devices and the growing amount of Venture-Capital being pumped into wearable tech, suggests that the ocean of data points which the digital universe will make available is going to be comprehensively exploited by business; all ultimately in the interests of us as the consumer.
Gareth James, TMW, offered the insight that in the moment-to-moment operation of our daily lives, TIOT of things will be successful only when it is, effectively indistinguishable from magic. He continued, lied the future of tech and TIOT things; devices becoming smaller and smaller and closer and closer to everyday life. The risk he offered was the temptation to design everything out of life; suggesting a concomitant banality of existence to too much integration that extends beyond the areas of obvious benefit.
The final speaker was Helen Lawrence from Twitter UK. Her fascinating talk expanded on the way in which Twitter has integrated into society to such an extent that it has become not only a reflection of events and trends within it, but a significant driver thereof. She also illustrated the integration of Twitter into the physical environment by speaking of how earthquake scientists from around the world are using Twitters to broadcast tremor-readings from sensors in different global locations; and beaches using Twitter to notify swimmers when sharks have been spotted in the vicinity.
The affilinet team learnt a huge amount at the seminar. As the tech industry continues to grow, currently swept along by the continued rise of mobile and other devices, the team look forward to identifying trends and opportunities in which to operate so that our clients and publishers can remain at the forefront of the industry; and continue to benefit from new opportunities.