Week 7: The Things That Talk Back

Teodor Mitew wrote an article on the internet of things called ‘do objects dream of the internet of things’, In this article he identifies the concept of the internet of things as such, “the IoT stands for the connection of usually trivial material objects to the internet” (Mitew, 2013), as demonstrated in this video,

Mitew goes on to say, “this connectivity allows things to broadcast sensory data remotely, in the process augmenting material settings with ambient data capture and processing capabilities” (Mitew, 2013). Relating to the video, we see the Google shoe detecting that its wearer is moving and doing strenuous activity and tweeting about it in real time. This kind of object interactivity, as well as being humorous, suggests that other objects work with it, the more objects within the network working together, the greater the sensory data input until the objects are all communication like an elaborate machine.

When We Wear The Internet of Things

Google is currently developing a new range of wearable tech known as the Google Glass. Wearable tech are devices that primarily work when worn on a person’s body, the Google Glass seems to be a combination of an android phone and glasses as seen in this video,

Wearable tech becomes a sort of pseudo extension of the body and when that extension is intended to be always on, always connected, we’re brought into a realm we’ve never faced before. Given the large scale of the internet and the networks that form it, it’s not unusual that objects of the internet of things appear to be more capable, with navigation, weather, maps, an infinitely large database, etc. There are many unfortunate accidents that are caused by people following devices they believed to be more capable than themselves, for example an elderly couple that drove off a ramp to a demolished bridge in 2015. What’s to say we won’t rely to greatly on these increasingly more common devices on the internet of things.

Wearable Communication Technology or Tracking Devices?

As I mentioned previously, the internet can be seen as an infinitely large database, expanding exponentially in users every year. Considering these devices we’ve been looking at take in sensory data from their surroundings; locations, movement patterns, physical health details, consumer statistics, it all needs to be stored somewhere and that somewhere is online. A large part of this ‘internet database’ is in depth measurements of so many aspects of our lives, it’s a gold mine for marketers. In another of my posts I go into why this could be a problem.

On The Bright Side

Technology that talks to others can adapt, it can change to fit the data it’s receiving, effectively updating and staying relevant. Individual, not connected, devices are built for a purpose but these purposes are restricted and these non-connected devices age out. On the other hand, objects in the internet of things are able to communicate and therefore ‘share’ purposes. A regular refrigerator can only keep things cool but an always on, always connected, smart fridge that’s aware of its surroundings could potentially self regulate it’s temperature, warn users that there is a lack of a certain item or that something is about to expire and ever communicate with stores to find the best prices for items.

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