People in IoT: A New Digital Revolution

It seems we have not even traversed entirely through the previous digital revolution that a new wave is upon us. Some may argue that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a continual evolution of the digital era which sprang on us starting in the early 1980s, yet others claim the new technology, IoT is so revolutionary and its impact so far-reaching that it is imperative to classify it apart. For now, we can tell you that even five years ago we were not aware of the powerful impact IoT promises to unleash upon the globe.

The Old vs. the New
We will readily admit that IoT is still new technology that is continuing to evolve and to call a part of it old may seem counterintuitive, but this concept is evolving so quickly that it is already pushing the boundaries of a new frontier even while the previous one is still being explored.

The old in IoT is continuously developing and comprises of every item and device which is connected to the vast network of IoT. Smart cities, smart farms and smart homes and buildings are the things which we initially believed would benefit from the interconnectivity provided by IoT. We are now astonished to see the possibilities that mundane objects, such as your coffee machine or the clothes you wear, may one day all be connected to a network, collecting data and to enable people to make better informed decisions.

But, that’s just the old. The new frontier is people connected to IoT. A perfect example is the Uber service. The potential driver and the ride-searching passenger connected to the network are the IoT “things” linked via cell phones or other mobile devices.

New Frontier
The new connection to people opens up a whole new level of products, services, processes, business models and applications for the IoT as the information gathered from people and common everyday devices is summed up and dissected to create new opportunities.

The “big data” industry which is powered via IoT is collecting so much information about people, that it is already creating new social science fields. Knowing where people are throughout their day, what they do, how they do it, when they do it, with who they do it are all behavior data and analytics of people in their natural environments which provide social scientists with such vast amounts of data they don’t know where to begin when studying the information. The new sciences will transform business fields, like employee risk management, performance, management, human resources and behavioral health.

Behavioral design thinking is perhaps the most important result emanating from connecting people to IoT. Psychologists and behavioral scientists have studied human motivations and thought processes for decades, but now have data to help with their studies. This is creating the recognition that services and products will provide greater value when their design is produced to go with the grain of human psychology. It will no longer be sufficient to create smart devices, but rather devices will have to be designed with the human brain in mind and successful products will help make us smarter.

IoT will allow you to gather minute data from crowds of people, analyze said data and re-deliver it in an actionable pattern to each individual in the crowd who will then be informed on the better options for his or her situation. A simple application of this is already available in an app called Waze. Millions of drivers instantaneously report the driving conditions they are encountering (traffic jams, accidents, lights not functioning, blocked streets, and so on), which is aggregated and analyzed to provide users with real-time road conditions, allowing them to make better driving decisions.

IoT represents the expansion of networks to common devices, activities and people and it is appropriate to expect a host of services and products which will harness the collective intelligence and provide individualized solutions to everyday world problems. Look around and you will see it happening already. Where this road takes us is what is exciting about IoT!

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