We’ve never been more connected. Through the sharing of information via web-based platforms, both established and emerging, we’ve created a global economy without bounds. We’re connected to distant friends, relatives, coworkers and even cofounders worlds apart.
But what if technology had the opportunity to not only cross oceans and continents, but bring you closer to those around to you?
That’s the promise of the emerging class of devices,1 namely wearables and IoT (connected devices). Not only offering ways to make your home smarter, your queue better, your activity level … you get the point. These technologies, Nest for instance, don’t necessarily scream technology in the same way the iMac did. They’re elegant and subtle, acting on your behalf or in your best interest. Technology that makes you stop paying attention to the technology itself, and more the byproducts of its consistent success.
An Apple ad once proclaimed, "Technology alone is not enough. Faster, thinner, lighter, those are all good things, but when technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful, even magical. That's when you leap forward."2
Which, like most things Apple proclaims, just makes sense. As has been proven throughout history, the maturation of any technology means it becomes more and more invisible, less obvious to our consciousness. Eric Schmidt shocked audiences when, at the World Economic Forum, he declared the “internet would disappear.”3 Not in the sense that it’d actually go away, but that “It will be part of your presence all the time.”
As we get closer to this reality, we’ll also get closer to and more invested in the people and relationships around us. Imagine: meetings without texting, sidewalks where people actually look up, uninterrupted conversations with your client, your boss, your wife. This can only happen when we trust our devices to do our work for us, or tell us when something absolutely needs our attention and therefore warrants interruption. Until we establish that trust, we’ll continue checking our phone 46 times a day.4
The trust is building, to some degree. Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi points out, “Instead of sounding an alarm, many fitness trackers can wake you with a gentle vibration to avoid disturbing your spouse. It's a seemingly minor feature, but one that takes the focus off the device itself and onto the people around you.”2
Technology’s place in our lives will constantly evolve. As it continues to mature, it’ll continue to fade into the background, allowing us to move through our day without thinking about completing the next task, responding to texts and emails or organizing meeting invites -- to experience moments without friction. Brands who leverage these emerging technologies would be smart to not invest in technology as the experience, but as the means to experience.
- Gartner: 6.4 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use in 2016
- FastCompany: The Future of Consumer Tech is About Making You Forget It's There
- Forbes: Eric Schmidt's Quite Right The Internet Will Disappear; All Technologies Do As They Mature
- Time: Americans Check Their Phones 8 Billion Times a Day
Filed under: Perspective