Connecting the dots

Published November 25, 2014

The connected life. Wearable tech. Automated homes. The internet of things. All these names cover the next wave of technological interest and advancement, and whilst they may all be less than desirable monikers, the actual concepts and gadgets that are being created are absolutely fascinating. I’ve been a keen gadget hunter for a long time, particularly over the last few years, and having barely scratched the surface of research regarding wearable technology and digital home products, I think the next few will be particularly expensive!

Health app

Wear it well

I’m keen to test out as much of this stuff as I can but where do you start? There are two main branches of technology that interest me at the moment. The watch/wearable with fitness tracking and notifications. I’ve talked about dipping my toe into the waters of this world, and my interest in the Apple Watch, but I’ve got a lot more to say about this over the next few weeks.

So far, the devices have all been interesting but then cumbersome after the initial novelty has worn off. The latest gadgets, and those still to come, look far more interesting and useful. Microsoft going cross-platform with their wristband, Jawbone releasing a family of fitness tracking products, and the apparent battery-constraints on the upcoming Apple watch are all key details to this genre.

Home pride

The other half is home automation, and here I am really only just starting to get a feel for the subject. It’s been around for a while and I have long since coveted the fridge that can tell you when it needs restocking, or the oven you can turn on from your phone, but there’s so much more to it than that. From tracking the air quality in your environment, to making the kitchen a lot more fun to be in, as well as better security and safety in the home, there’s a lot still to be done in this area and that makes it a great one to keep an eye on.

It’s not just about what life is like inside, either. Phones can tell where you are, and where you’re going, and the iPhone manages to piece it all together to work out your recent routes and thus advises how long it might take to get there. Driving home one day, Mr C and I were pondering whether the future involves the next step - your technology knowing you are heading home, advising you on any traffic issues to be avoided. At a certain distance, it puts on the oven because it knows you’ll want dinner when you get home. It could also know what time of year it is, and maybe even the temperature, so can know whether to put on the heating or not.

Stuff like this sounds frivolous and luxurious, but streamlining daily processes can make life a little bit more pleasant and can save wasted time and energy. If everything is ready for you when you get home, you’ll have time to later go for that walk that will then get your step count up so your wristband doesn’t tell you off for missing targets!

Some people are nervous of the way this automated movement is going, and I can understand some of the reservations. But for me, it’s a genre that is unfailingly interesting, and something I absolutely want to get involved with and explore.

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