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Smartphones Become Remotes in a World of Connected Devices

Smartphones Become Remotes in a World of Connected Devices

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In 2009, a mere 18% of the U.S. population was connected to the Internet via their mobile devices. Fast-forward to 2014, and we see 64% mobile connectivity —an increase that can be attributed to many factors, including smartphone price decline, the onslaught of social media apps, and the ever-connected mobile lifestyle that each new generation increasingly embodies.

As we near full population connectivity, we must ask ourselves: what then? When all humans are connected to each other with the world’s information at their fingertips, the only ways to innovate are to improve existing mobile experiences and transform our devices into something more.

If we treat smartphones as our personal remotes to control the products, services, and objects in our lives, innovation takes center stage. Enter the sensor era, otherwise known as the “Internet of Things,” wearable technologies, or connected devices. By the end of 2015, Intel estimates that there will be 15 billion connected devices that use wireless technology to talk to each other … and, to us.

What data will be transferred during these connections?
What will those conversations produce?
And, what changes are inevitable—for consumers and businesses alike?

As a digital experience analyst, I study the evolution of disruptive technologies and how they impact our lives. From social to digital, mobile to wearables, I’ve been brought on board by MobileFOMO to help guide the development of a new initiative, launching in fall 2015: WearableFOMO. WearableFOMO’s contributors will explore not only devices that you physically wear, but also the many other connected devices in our lives. This includes smartphones too, as, for all intents and purposes, they’re attached to our palms anyway.

When we examine mobile through the lens of the Internet of Things, we see it’s both a P2P communication device and a necessary conduit to connect us to an intricate network of on-demand services and smart products. They’re the original wearables, necessary tools through which we orchestrate life experiences.

According to venture capital firm KPCB, smartphone users already use their devices primarily for “just in time” information. From turn-by-turn navigation and following breaking news (both 84%) to learning about community events (79%) and getting help in an emergency (52%), we already turn to our phones in immediate need [3]. As we begin to relinquish control to the connected products around us, real-time response and predictive analytics take over, and these immediate needs are seamlessly fulfilled—without manually running a Google search or opening a series of apps.

Over the coming months, I’ll be exploring these connections and trends, here and on WearableFOMO. Together, we’ll keep pulse on how consumers are using new technologies to solve their problems, and how businesses adapt. I’ll regularly bring new research forward to help understand why the Internet of Things and mobile experience design matter. And, I always welcome your feedback and input.

In the meantime, I welcome you to browse my latest research completed at Altimeter Group on my LinkedIn page. I look forward to sharing insights, having conversations, and helping business leaders like you navigate the world of wearables (and what comes next).

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