When you think back to just one decade ago, you can see how much has changed and how technology has developed, and how rapidly it has done so. The first ever phone was invented in 1876, and almost 100 years later the first mobile phone call was made in 1973.
A further 10 years later, the first mobile phone, the Motorola DynaTAC, was made available to the public in 1983. However, since the first mobile phone which was over 14 inches tall with a bulky exterior and was only used to make phone calls, we have a new generation of ‘smart phones’.
Now, it’s rare to find anything other than a smart phone which not only makes calls but also sends texts, has at least one built-in camera and connects to the internet to access thousands of apps and other features. Furthermore, modern mobile phones are all much thinner, considerably smaller and generally more convenient to store and put away in your pocket.
This goes to show how in recent years, technology has grown, developed and advanced incredibly rapidly, and it doesn’t seem to have plans to stop. Of course, it’s amazing how many gadgets we have access to, and how easily we can do things compared to just a decade ago.
There are, however, pros and cons to the modern society we’re living in; you could say that as a society we’re becoming lazy and dumbed down, and that we’re losing the ability to do things for ourselves, and that creativity is being abolished.
Alternatively, you could say that such advanced technology provides us with many more opportunities and allows us to connect with others much more easily, and that we can save a lot of time and effort.
But how far will we go? How long will it be until we have specially manufactured robots to perform every task for us? Perhaps more realistically and in the more sooner future, it’s said that even our everyday objects may soon become connected with ‘the internet of things’, otherwise abbreviated as ‘IoT’.
‘The internet of things’ is a modern phrase referring to inanimate objects, vehicles, devices and even buildings, being fitted with electronic software and sensors and the ability to collect, exchange and share data.
We’re already somewhat used to this idea when we use smart phones, apps, tablets, Kindles and smart watches, but you may be wondering how your everyday household objects can possibly be fitted with software that can connect to the internet and store/exchange data, so here are a few examples.
Take your dishwasher, for example; sure, this is still a fairly modern appliance which is being installed in many households as it is, but how could it be developed to hold its own digital or social identity?
Well, by collecting data and using advanced software to connect to the internet, it may be able to record how many cycles it has run, how much water it has used, and it could use this data to calculate long-term usage for the future.
If successful, the idea of making everyday objects digital could end up making your household appliances even smarter, and certainly less forgetful, than its owner. Picture this: your dishwasher, washing machine, oven or fridge-freezer encounters a problem or needs servicing, but you may not have even noticed yet before you’re notified by the appliance itself.
Or, as a more common and frightfully advanced example; you’re running low on a food you buy regularly, but you haven’t realised it yet. However, by collecting and storing data, your refrigerator might be able to notice buying patterns, which could potentially notify you when you’re running low, or even add it to your grocery delivery, depending on personal preference.
This huge, futuristic industry may be made possible because of companies such as ‘Evrythng’, a company who have made it their mission to bring ‘every physical thing around us’ to life, using IoT technology to create ‘smarter products’ and ‘smarter packaging’ in order to connect everything.
This is a business plan that will most likely change the lives of everybody in developed cultures. To some, this may sound like a daunting, dystopian future where we’ll become even more reliant on technology, to the point where we can’t function independently anymore.
Aspects of this may well be true, but some people have discussed the positive impacts that this IoT connected industry could have. For example, household appliances that use energy and water, such as the dishwasher, could benefit environmentally from this system, if it’s used correctly.
One of the negative aspects of dishwashers is that people worry about how much water it’s using, and how that can damage the environment, as well as your water bill. However, if it was fitted with IoT technology that collects and stores data to monitor your usage, you could personalise it so that it notifies you when you’ve reached a certain water limit, and it could even use the internet to advise you on how you can reduce your water usage to make it more sustainable.
Like anything, there are potential advantages and disadvantages to this idea, and different people will have a different opinion on whether connected everyday objects to the internet of things will be a good or bad decision. Who knows how long it would take to develop this idea, and how far companies like Evrythng will go to make everything connected?