Big brands made them, small brands made them, the Chinese made them, and even the locals made them – in the first wave wearables like fitness trackers, smart watches etc. made a big bang entry. Priced US$ 50 and above, that mysterious black band or that wonder watch was the ultimate symbol of the fitness conscious, tech savvy urban sophisticate! But with these the user has yet another screen to manage, yet another device to charge and yet more drain on that poor smartphone. And as the euphoria seems to be on the wane, we have the VR Gear (Virtual Reality) straight from a Sci-fi movie.
Life is complicated and smart gadgets, by their sheer numbers, platforms, UIs and not to mention various apps are not helping. The need is to simplify things, we can do with less and we must do with less. But how do you do that. IoT (Internet of Things) is the logical way forward.
The next wave of smart devices would be integrated to a smart ecosystem and be near invisible so that the user forgets they are there, thinks it is as part of his/her routine. Here I am not talking about a prop or gadget of a Sci-fi movie but the whole movie itself. Like we are on board the USS Enterprise. If you have seen any of these movies the characters have very little gadgets visible on their person except for when they are doing a space walk or those fancy Jet-suits deployed for an intergalactic dive to save a planet from sudden annihilation.
Captain James T. Kirk says, “Warp-speed.” And lo’ Warp-speed it is! They never have a fitting problem with their suits. The alien weather, the faster than light speeds, perpetual food supply to name a few are no problems at all. Who is Kirk instructing for Warp-speed, who is relaying these instructions, how are things getting done, are but a few questions that assault us. Well, it is not surprising to us - even with our present, primitive tech and mind as compared that of Star Date 5656! We are able to perceive that a very intelligent backend is at work, the reception and relay devices are spread across the whole space ship (in our case the environment or dwelling) or are on the person, cleverly camouflaged from the naked eye. These are embedded:
Inside the clothes and bodies of the crew - Dr. Leonard McCoy gets the vitals of any crew on board enterprise or on any planet they are visiting sitting in the Sick Bay!
Organs like eyes - Smart contact lenses with video cameras are already there
Self-driving crafts – We are very near a Self-driving car
And the options are many and will extend as the human race progresses
Now the doers, who are these - This is a smart mixture of artificial intelligence and human intelligence that processes information and executes. These two work in perfect harmony and build on each other. No wonder Mr. Scott, in the engine room, loves The Enterprise more than he does any other crew member (errr…Human!).
So the next wave or shall we say the trend of smart devices is towards:
Integration to a central system
Communicative - Device to user; device to device and device to server or cloud
Intelligent (Autonomous to some extent)
Embedded or built-in
Work on multiple power sources - Never run out of power
Fashionable or the fashion itself - “Check out my Black Tuxedo - programmable, self fitting, all weather, self-cleaning, a million song music library and telepathic song selection, of course!”
Self-opening doors, self-starting lights, telemedicine even telesurgery which were ‘Fascinating’ then, are common-place now. The human race is moving toward a smart life. If it anything but the sign of the coming times that we are now taking names of tech giant like Google and fashions icons like Levis, Underarmour, Ralph Lauren with OMSignal and Tommy Hilfiger in the same breath as they are both working on smart clothing. It is a small world…No it is an integrated one!