Broadly speaking, a smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols, that can operate to some extent interactively and autonomously. They are sometimes also referred to as information appliances, and as the name suggests, are designed to connect humans to the physical world and distributed computing environments.

Although these devices can be static or portable, it is in the mobile world where the ability to imbed sensors such as accelerometers and GPS is revolutionizing the way people and systems can interconnect and share information via internet and the cloud.

However, not only are these devices portable, they are also becoming wearable and can be worn on eyes, wrist and ankle. Google for example are actively developing mobile/wearable form factors such as contact lenses for monitoring blood glucose levels and they are looking forward to integrating other features such as blood pressure monitoring.

The consumerization of most of the wearable devices is expected to take a long time and there are many technical and regulatory hurdles before they become the norm, but smart, connected devices are emerging across virtually all sectors of industry. From Schindler’s PORT technology calculating elevator demand patterns, to energy utilities adjusting energy consumption via smart meters, business is building an entirely new technology infrastructure.

One area which is fast becoming familiar with consumers is “the connected car”. Virtually all major motor car organizations are taking big bets on connected car systems and everything that goes with that proposition. Most telecommunication carriers are enthusiastic about the opportunity to go beyond connectivity via smartphone to vehicle embedded technology. Examples are BMW’s Connected Drive and GM’s OnStar systems used for vehicle tracking, road user charging and insurance.

However, what makes smart, connected products fundamentally different is not the internet, but the changing nature of these “things.” It is the expanded capabilities of smart, connected products and the data they generate that are ushering in a new era of competition.

Questions to consider during presentation

  1. Will connected devices present a threat to privacy?
  2. Do you still expect the smartphone to be at the epicenter of this future connected world?
  3. What group of connected device do you feel will be most impactful to you?
Ralph Josling
General Manager Technical Services Altech Netstar