Without a doubt, mobile technology has changed our lives for the better. Today, connected devices stand to do it all over again with a new generation of technology.
What does a connected device mean in 2021?
Connected devices are physical pieces of tech with the ability to form a network with other systems and devices via the internet. Traditionally, the term applied to hefty bits of tech like personal computers, phones and TVs, but recently we’ve seen everything from cars to lightbulbs joining the connected revolution.
By 2021, connected devices will outnumber humans by at least 3 to 1. Connected devices have flooded the market, to the point where consumers now expect every device they interact with to be connected to the internet.
As connected devices will no doubt continue to have a greater impact on our lives, we want to dig into what they’ll mean for employers and consumers in 2021 and beyond.
Will wearable technology overtake the use of smartphones and laptops?
If there’s one connected device almost everyone has today, it’s the supercomputer in our pocket – but the use of wearable technology has grown rapidly in recent years.
Wearable technology comes in many forms; you’ve probably seen them strapped to people’s ankles or wrists, but they can also take the form of glasses and even footwear. Once thought to be a gimmick, the wearable device market is now expected to grow to over 900 million connected wearable devices in the world by 2021.
Wearable devices aim to make consumer’s lives easier. At first, many wearable devices merely served as companion devices to our smartphones – but this is quickly changing, particularly evident in the health sector with devices tracking your health activity (sleep, diet, exercise) and quickly displaying the data with relevant feedback.
Over the next few years, we expect wearable technology to continue to gain sophistication, awareness and adoption throughout the general user population. More applications are needed before wearables will make the transition from being smartphone accessories to smartphone replacements, but we’re already beginning to see the early days of this transition.
Take smart earbuds for example. With the latest improvements in speech recognition, smart earbuds let users carry out many smartphone activities while offering additional features including hearing enhancement and live language translation. A couple of decades ago most people thought this technology was just science fiction, and yet wearable technology stands to innovate mobile devices all over again.
What is IoT app development?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network created by groups of connected devices sharing data. IoT app development is the creation of a system to allow IoT data sharing without any human input. This can take place virtually anywhere; in our homes, workplaces and even our city streets.
From a consumer perspective, a good example of IoT app development is a smart home app. A smart home app lets a user control and monitor several devices including lights, thermostats, TVs, security sensors, automated windows and blinds. The end result makes your life easier by saving you time and effort in handling mundane tasks around your home – optimising your comfort within it.
But what about smart workplaces?
First, let’s pull apart what a workplace means in 2021. This year has proven that mobile devices and high-speed internet access now enable you to have your office anywhere, satisfying all your needs for connection and communication with few drawbacks. With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to ensure that technology is being effectively used in the workplace to make workers happier and more productive.
Efforts to increase employee happiness could take the form of an office heating system that responds to changing weather conditions, a smart desk that could warn you if you’ve been sitting too long, or a coffee machine that orders a new batch of supplies when they’re running low.
Some examples of connected devices being used to drive employee happiness that have inspired us include:
- The Edge, Amsterdam – A smart building capable of telling employees about free car parking spaces, where their colleagues can be found and even remembering their coffee order.
- IBM Watson Center, Munich – IBM’s head-turning skyscraper, Watson IoT HQ is capable of tracking each employee through their devices to alter the lighting and temperature to their preferences wherever they are in the building.
With voice-enabled applications becoming the norm, employees are now able to interact with virtual assistants to get tasks done quickly without any physical interaction, freeing up the time of employees in favour of more complex work.
IoT app development is a great opportunity to revolutionise businesses, infrastructure, and even our own homes. It’s making the stuff of science fiction a reality, and we believe that products will be coming out over the next decade that will dramatically overhaul these areas.
Big data capture through mobile technology
Mobile app development has been changing businesses for some time now, with many companies continuing to leverage apps and the data they provide to increase their growth.
As more connected devices become available to consumers and employees alike, that means more data for businesses to collect, store and analyse securely. Used correctly and ethically, this data can give powerful insights into employee efficiency and consumer behaviour.
For example, big data is improving the productivity and satisfaction of employees in increasingly visible ways. It’s become common for a delivery driver to use a connected device as a GPS, to track his vehicle along his route and to provide proof of service. This ensures quality and efficiency for both the driver and the delivery company.
And they pass those benefits onto the consumer, who can also track the driver – they have peace of mind about their parcel’s whereabouts, but also the transparency around timings means they can plan their day around it, enhancing that all-important convenience factor.
Across 2021, it’s guaranteed that the number of connected devices owned by consumers will increase, as will the quantity but also quality of the data being collected about them. Most phones are now capable of tracking their user’s exact movements to a minute degree of accuracy, while the latest smartwatches gather biometric data in a literal heartbeat.
Some business benefits of accurate big data include improved:
- Customer service
- Customer engagement
- Brand recognition
The key takeaway here is that IoT app development offers valuable insights for businesses into the behaviour of their customers.
Companies used to have to go through many steps to obtain the information they required to inform their business decisions – now, they’re often able to collect it rapidly and accurately through connected devices.
This has incredible implications for market research, customer insights and product development across a whole spectrum of industries – but it’s even more critical in the field of healthcare.
How healthcare is leading the way in big data usage from connected devices
For a long time, an issue that has plagued the field of healthcare is the lack of large-scale information sharing and interoperability. If healthcare providers had access to a greater amount of data about their patients, it would let them make far more informed and actionable decisions.
But where does the data come from? The answer lies within the world of connected devices.
A great example of the collection and application of healthcare data is Strava, a service for runners and cyclists. An industry leader in the application of health data, Strava are pushing people to get fit through online communities, whilst giving brands exposure by offering the opportunity to sponsor internal competitions and challenges.
With the ability to access your fitness data from a mobile app or a wearable device, Strava has built a hub for the active lifestyle of millions of people. A huge aspect of Strava’s ambitions is to build communities of athletes that strive to improve each other’s fitness and wellbeing.
Particularly during the COVID pandemic, the health and wellbeing of the general public have been a concern, and services like Strava are not only alleviating this but are also collecting data gauging how their customers are faring during these troubling times.
Fitbit, sleep and heart rate monitors, smartwatches, smart pill bottles and food intake apps are now producing a wealth of data – but this is still a relatively untapped resource.
As healthcare professionals follow the likes of Strava and unlock the potential these innovations offer, they’ll gain a better understanding of their patients and the correct way to treat them.
Once architectures are put in place for these automated patient-generated data collection systems, healthcare providers will be able to generate reports with very little input that can be analysed and tracked as necessary. Not only will doctors be able to build far more accurate pictures of a patients’ health, but they’ll also be able to predict behaviours and begin to take preventive action for their wellbeing.
Big data is paving the way to revolutionise fields such as healthcare, whether they’re ready or not. The amount of data being collected is only increasing, and it’s just waiting to be used to drive industries forward in the years to come.
If you want to find out how Apadmi is working with connected devices to bring innovation to businesses, get in touch.