We all, of course, live in a physical world — our homes, offices, cars, places we frequent, and people with whom we associate. However, the world that is dramatically changing the way we live our lives and our daily experiences is a mass ocean of data, invisible to everyone but us. These physical and digital worlds are becoming increasingly interconnected by millions of sensors that make up the Internet of Things. Our data is superimposed over the physical world, accessible through smartphones, car dashboards, tablets, biosensors — and eventually through a Google Glass headset interface or the next-gen equivalent.
Grounded in ever-sophisticated predictive analytics, this data-world is quickly evolving and will soon automatically take action on our behalf, interacting with our physical world, offering options and opportunities you want, foreseeing what you don’t even know you want, all without having to ask. You are the center of both worlds because mobile devices have shrunk big data and made it about you. They have acquired, filtered and reconfigured themselves for your personal needs and wants.
Some might call this a “James Bond future” because it’s about hi-tech, futuristic toys and living on the cutting edge of cool. But we don’t need — or want — to be James Bond.
Digerati will quickly evolve from Bond (reacting to his environment) to Jason Bourne (always anticipating traffic, weather, the bad guys — intuitively exploiting every opportunity). We’ll realize a Jason Bourne future where our physical world magically cooperates with us.
Consider these facts:
- Automakers are integrating disparate data, blending everything from incoming phone calls to physical road conditions, gas prices, traffic, weather, and opportunities (fuel dropping below 20 percent — stop at next station).
- Intelligent houses monitor and adjust temperature, energy expenditure, call your security company if an alarm is triggered, and send refrigerator alerts if you’re low on milk.
- Fitbit is one of the wearable computing devices that feature biosensors and biometrics. Soon, an athlete with a heart condition will get a life-saving automated text and call indicating his pulse is rising with a recommendation that could help him avert a heart attack.
So what is driving this (r)evolution? Six primary trends:
- Smartphones are getting smarter. Smartphone apps will use more sensors (GPS, camera, microphone) to drive relevance, using location as a cue for situational awareness and action triggers. Imagine your phone checks your train status in the background as you walk towards the station without you asking for it, and adjusts your thermostat as you drive home, without triggering it.
- Every device and location is becoming a node in the network. Cars, homes, utilities, the office, and stores will be intelligent nodes; your smartphone will be the intelligent glue, delivering the beginning of a user-centric model.
- Shared data is also becoming a norm. Data will be shared phone-to-phone, vehicle-to-vehicle and via any real-time, peer-to-peer communication link. Rapid-data authentication and ID protection make it private and secure.
- Cloud nine will be your home address. The cloud will store your tastes and preferences, feeding them to the services you use. Imagine you’re driving toward a smart, linked, next-gen ATM that has been “told” you’re arriving by your smartphone. The ATM already knows (based on secure, encrypted data you stored in the cloud) that on the third Friday of each month you like to transfer $1,000 to your wife’s account, while simultaneously paying your mortgage and withdrawing cash.
- Predictive Analytics: As more of your data is collected and analyzed, tech will anticipate what you need or want before you even realize it. My favorite store, for instance, will predict what products I like and send me a relevant offer.
- You will be the “master orchestrator.” Tomorrow’s tech will empower users to blend data streams with on-demand information from the cloud to help smartphones “think” and suggest ways to make lives easier. Connected services also enable the user to trigger an action; big data analysis, personalization and machine learning will be key elements of the “orchestrator” toolset.
The cutting edge of cool means rejecting the unattainable Bond fantasy for the increasingly available Bourne reality. The Internet of Things is ushering in a new lifestyle with seamless orchestration of information services and the corresponding real-world entities. Every setting we encounter will be ready to interact for fast, easy, smooth, smart and automatic collaboration.
Who needs James Bond’s “license to kill” when the new urban mobile lifestyle can give you Jason Bourne’s “license to thrill”?