I might have found a solution to my vexing fitness problem. As with so many of my personal breakthroughs, the answer was obvious in retrospect. But had it not been for a series of technology purchases and a mistyped URL, it is unlikely I would have discovered it.
The series began when I purchased a smart phone, later a Fitbit (measures activity) and finally an Aria scale (a Wi-Fi body fat scale). These devices can be useful independently, but unless they are connected they only tell a small part of the story. Unfortunately, my approach to technology was based on a traditional “set it and forget it” concept, which I never abandoned on the basis that the probability of discovering anything new wasn’t worth the extra effort.
And so I languished for a year – not gaining any weight nor losing any. I did all the right things, ate well and exercised frequently. Or so I thought.
It was serendipitous I suppose, but on one rainy Saturday while doing research, I accidentally mistyped a URL into an internet browser. You see I tend to hit the letter ‘S’ instead of ‘A’ on the keyboard when I type too fast. That mistyped letter changed how I viewed the future of technology forever.
I landed on an Internet of Things (IoT) blog written by a well-known expert in the space. He had recently started connecting his devices and using the combined data to discover new patterns and subsequently methods for improving his life. The article had a big impact on my fitness program because it taught me how connected devices could be used to understand and evolve my program.
For me, it turns out, when I walk while I talk on the phone I gain an additional 5000 – 7000 steps every day (I spend hours on the phone). According to the data, that’s not trivial. That’s burning an extra 1800 calories. That discovery (from looking at the data) changed everything. I quickly achieved my fitness goals and remain in great shape to this day.
We’re still in the early days of IoT, think internet 1995. Sure, grocery chains can send people recipes on their smartphones based on the ingredients in their carts, alarm clocks can trigger the car to start at a specific time and mobile apps can remind us of our essential items for the day before leaving the house. But we’re just scratching the surface. There’s still a lot more to come.
So when I wanted to find who the IoT experts were in the space to learn about what’s next, I helped develop a list of Internet of Things (IoT) experts and asked them to give us a head’s up on the future.
Here’s what they told me:
#1 Vala Afshar, Chief Marketing Officer, Extreme Networks: There are many IoT doors to lock.
“To tap into the full potential of the IoT requires improved data and application analytics, better security, and more individuals with the ability to understand big data. The IoT puts many more doors on the Internet that need to be securely locked and monitored. Already spam and phishing emails are being sent by and to home-networking routers, connected multi-media centers, televisions, and refrigerators. Stealing personal data and corporate data is bad enough, but the prospect of hacking into life support systems and even embedded medical devices is life-threatening.
The growth of the IoT opens up new opportunities for people and businesses with the right skills in data analysis and data security. Mckinsey projects the need for 1.5 million additional managers and analysts “with a sharp understanding of how big data can be applied” in the United States. Gartner has predicted there will be 4.4 million global big data jobs by 2015, only one-third of which will be filled.”
“Right now one of the key pieces that’s missing from the IoT space is standardization around security and privacy. Whether it’s connected products in the home, wearable tech that we put on our bodies or the software applications we use to push and pull data from these devices, we’re sharing more information about ourselves than ever before and that’s something that is very difficult, nearly impossible, to put in reverse once the data is out there. It’s a great time of innovation, but also, vulnerability. So there needs to be some set of standards around how this information is being used, and how to best protect it.”
#3 Robin Raskin, Founder and CEO, Living in Digital Times: How will we manage notification overload?
What’s missing from the IoT space?
The good news is that IoT was meant for people like me, older and more affluent. The Internet of Things is a potential nirvana for managing all that we’ve accumulated. The down side? My mobile phone is deluged with notifications about everything from squirrels on my porch to Mom being forgetful about her medicine!” Raskin believes we need a better solution for all of the IoT notifications or else we’ll drown from information overload.
This article was written by Mark Fidelman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.