The Internet of Things is about to become an important part of all of our lives. Understanding how it works and how it may or may not affect us in different ways is helpful in using it to be able to enhance our lives. What books con help us truly understand the profound effect the internet of things in our lives? For the New York Review of Books Sue Halpern (2014) selected four books were selected from a range of different options, to provide a variety of different perspectives on the matter. Each of these is now examined in turn.
Zero Marginal Cost Society
The first book is by Jeremy Rifkin. The book is titled The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons and the Eclipse of Capitalism, available from Palgrave Macmillan. The work of Rifkin suggests that the Internet of Things will be worth $14.4 trillion by 2022 to businesses that are savvy and get ahead. The book explains how sensors will be in every day goods and devices and these will provide information to Big Data sources. The data can be used for a range of different projects including increasing productivity and efficiency, and decreasing cost. The Internet of Things is termed as the Third Industrial Revolution, and it is reportedly expected that there will be 100 trillion sensors connected by 2030. This includes, among others, the potential that wearable technology has for changing our lives. Various other examples include an egg minder that tells you how many eggs you have so that you replace them as needed, and an alarm clock that gives off the whiff of bacon when it sounds. While some of these changes are seen as being helpful, there are concerns raised about the problem of collection of personal data and what this means for security and privacy.
Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things
A second book on the subject is by David Rose. Available from Scribner, it is called Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things. One of the topics Rose covers is wearable objects, one of which we have already seen developed in Google Glass. It is suggested by Rose that such innovations have potential to have a great impact. Examples include being able to fact check friends and colleagues, and pulling up information from previous meetings in a current meeting. Devices that are being developed include a doorbell that tells people where your family is and when they might be coming home, an umbrella that turns blue when rain is imminent, and a jacket that gives you a hug when a person likes a post that you put on Facebook. It is hard not to argue that some of this is quite creepy in nature. In the following video, David Rose presents his book:
Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
The third book is by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, entitled, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy. This book is available from Patrick Brewster. The book outlines a range of different possibilities that could result from the Internet of Things, some of which could be considered to be very helpful. For example there is the car that recognises who is using it and adjusts the mirrors and seating accordingly to save you doing it. All of this is great but it does raise questions about the types of information that will be collected and the use to which it may be put. Clearly there are massive implications for marketers. When you consider how your fridge, credit card, television, scales, medications, camera and toothbrush will all be able to transmit data for those that want to purchase that data, it starts to become even more creepy in some ways, and yet convenient in others.
More Awesome than Money: Four Boys and Their Heroic Quest to Save Your Privacy from Facebook
The final book is by Jim Dwyer, published by Viking. This one is named More Awesome than Money: Four Boys and Their Heroic Quest to Save Your Privacy from Facebook. Staying on the subject of data, Dwyer points out that there have been various attempts to build social media sites that do not sell or collect user data, such as Diaspora in 2010, as well as Ello. Neither has built a large following to date. The problem with all of this is that it becomes increasingly difficult for people to be able to opt out of being part of it. Whether we like it or not, the Internet of Things is coming and we will be connected to it. Hopefully the negative aspects of the Internet of Things do not transpire, and in the meantime they are certainly areas that need a lot of thought. Reading some of these books may help you to get ahead of the game.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.