We’re not far away from being a hyper-connected society with smart household appliances that can communicate with multiple devices. And companies.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the grand scheme of technology corporations that will supposedly make our lives more convenient and provide solutions to a smarter lifestyle.
The idea of a fridge that knows when you are out of milk or the jam is past its sell by date seems like a good idea. So does flicking the kettle on from your mobile phone before you’ve even dragged yourself out of bed.
IoT is set to be the next wave of growth in the technological revolution and whilst there are advantages, is there also a dark side and it mean an invasion of your privacy?
Is total connectivity really that smart?
We are already seeing IoT taking shape in Britain. The US and some countries in the EU too. The government-led initiative to install smart meters in every home is the best example to date.
Energy companies claim smart meters will help households monitor their energy output and enable bill payers to reduce fuel costs by using less electricity.
Smart meters know which appliances you are using and at what time of day you are using them. They even know when you have left the house. And all this information is shared with energy firms.
Where will it end? The smarter technology gets, the more opportunities brands have to interact with consumers and nosey into your private life.
And when you consider how interconnected we will be once wearables function, IoT starts to sound Orwellian. The next stage will be micro-chipping.
The convenience of consumerism
Privacy of course is a personal matter. Brands have the capacity to improve the life of their customers and IoT enables them to offer a personalised service that can offer genuine help.
Some people will be okay with this and can enjoy the benefits.
Let’s use the fridge example again. If you shop at Tesco and you let them receive messages from your fridge, they can compile a shopping list and have it sent to your home without having to do more than a few swipes and a click on your smartphone. You can do your shopping on the bus. Or in your driverless car.
The potential for brands to build customer loyalty will be unrivalled once IoT is in full swing, but how will consumers react to persistent communication? Regardless of how personal the message is, it’s still marketing.
But IoT gives brands more insight when to market to their customers. People do not tolerate misplaced marketing messages that contain offers they are not interested in or they receive too many emails.
If brands know when it is okay to send a message, consumers will find this more acceptable. Therefore sharing personal information with trusted brands through IoT may have personal dividends and help to manage your lifestyle.
Whilst there is still a risk of intrusion, and conspiracy theorists claim IoT is 24-hour surveillance, the potential benefits will outweigh concerns of not having any privacy. It’s just the internet in everything.