Internet of Things – not just for geeks but for everyone

August 18, 2013

Just read one of the more thoughtful analyses about the Internet of Things on GigaOm by Carla Diana, a smart object designer and Fellow at the design firm Smart Design.

WikiMedia Commons

WikiMedia Commons

Recently, I blogged about how the Internet of Things and our rush to make it possible results sometimes in a lack of attention to security. Carla’s article talks about how important good thoughtful design is to the Internet of Things. It can’t be designed just for the geeks out there who can hack anything they want. How do we create an Internet of Things for every day consumers?

I think about this all the time. I am not kidding about this. Many of you know that I wrote my senior thesis in 1995 about how we would start consuming content in digital format mobile and everywhere we go. I think I talked about the end of the physical book and bookstore in 1995. Needless to say, this did not make me a popular person when I attend the Radcliffe/Harvard Publishing Program (now the Columbia Publishing program) that summer. I believe the 22 year old me said to Irwyn Applebaum (formerly the powerful publisher of Pocket Books) during cocktail hours that everything will be connected and physical books will go away. I think the only person who did not think I was crazy at that publishing course was John Battelle from Wired. Subsequently, I was hired by John and Wired in 1996. It was nice not to be thought crazy. Every day, I continue to be grateful to John, Mark Frauenfelder (of BoingBoing and Make!) and the awesome crew at Wired for taking in the girl with the big digital dreams.

But, my point is that I think about Internet of Things all the time and have since 1995 because my *dream* as a marketer and business developer in the digital media is to make this happen ASAP. I want to see consumers connect to the Internet wherever they are and be able to consume digital media that’s personalized to them anywhere: in the home, mobile and in the car.

I coined it “Round-Tripping” which has subsequently been used at companies I’ve worked at such as Audible (an Amazon company) and Aha by Harman (a Harman International company). Both of these companies have efforts to make “Round-Tripping” happening. I have made all those legs happen for these companies, having launched services online, via mobile and in-car for these companies. I’ve negotiated and signed deals with big media companies to make these things happen and have been marketing this to consumers.

What I really like about Carla’s article is that she is thoughtful about what needs to happen. I had been marketing “Round-Tripping” to early adapter as well as mainstream consumers since 1995. It’s a challenge because design is so crucial to making it easy for consumers to make that leap into adopting and embracing the Internet of Things experience. There is a baseline requirement of what the services needs to do. Products should: (1) provide knowledge of about myself (2) provide me with knowledge of others (3) provide me with knowledge about the world. I fully agree with Carla.

So I call on all of us to be thoughtful about design (as well as security darn it!) as we push forward in the Internet of Things.


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