Imagine a world where you don’t have to adapt to the environment, but instead, the environment adapts to you
That’s the true promise of the Internet of Things – to have everything we’re surrounded by or interact with adapt to us, learn from us, blend into our lives seamlessly and remove all friction between us and our immediate environment.
But that’s not where the world is at today. Technology is putting a much greater focus on features and functions than it is on people, and some companies are embracing IoT technology just for the sake of it – which is not always enough. This also explains the small number of real deployed AI implementations (SmarterWithGartner).
The real transformative IoT solutions of tomorrow will be those that are founded on a deep understanding of the individual and built to fulfill a genuine need, not simply just another gadget connected to the internet. To deliver on the promise of IoT, technology must evolve to put people at the center, creating adaptive products and services and transform the Internet of Things into the Internet of You.
Companies can make the Internet of You a reality by harnessing the power of data, but not just any data – rather contextual data that is derived from sensors embedded in IoT devices. These sensors provide a constant stream of data about how people behave and why they behave the way that they do. The most common connected device used today is undoubtedly our smartphones. With the right mobile sensor fusion and intelligence, person’s locations, movements, and activities in real-time, translate into meaningful moments that paint a more holistic picture into people’s real-life and real-time context and behaviors. And all of this can be done while still safeguarding consumer privacy by combining first party business models and advances in edge computing.
Multiple industries are already beginning to harness the power of IoT sensor data to help individuals solve their unmet needs. In particular, companies in the healthcare, automotive and insurance spaces are contextualizing this kind of data to improve the lives of their customers, which is why we will see 2019 be the year where IoT shifts from just connecting devices to address specific problems or needs.
Let’s take a look at how companies working in healthcare, automotive and on smart devices like voice assistants will tap into IoT sensor data to help make people’s lives safer, smarter, healthier and ultimately more convenient and fulfilling.
Healthcare Companies Drive Real Behavior Change through Personalized Digital Coaching
Recent developments in AI and sensor data are giving healthcare providers powerful tools to better understand patient context. Consider ‘the sensors from smartphones, wearables and connected health devices. The data they collect gives healthcare providers a better picture of patients’ real-time context and behaviors, better informing them as to when it’s best to engage patients and coach them toward healthier outcomes tailored for the individual.
Healthcare providers are using motion data analysis for chronic disease management. They are using apps and connected medical devices to monitor and identify what exacerbating and ameliorating factors lead to disease-related symptoms, then they take that information to encourage their patients to take the necessary preventative measures that will generate healthier outcomes. Motion data analysis is also being used to develop tailored dietary plans that fit the users’ individual lifestyles and to coach smokers on how to quit smoking.
Insurance Companies Are Making Roads and Highways Safer
By monitoring motion sensor data from a driver’s smartphone, insurance companies can determine how smoothly, legally and safely their customers drive. They can then contextualize that data to get a more holistic profile of their customers’ driving behaviors and essentially form a “driver DNA” for each individual.
For example, companies can understand whether customers are handling their cell phones when they drive. Do they aggressively change lanes on the highway? Do they go dramatically over the speed limit when driving through construction or residential zones? Gathering smartphone sensor data to understand exactly how their customers drive is important in assessing individuals’ risk profiles and it helps drivers determine what they need to do to drive more safely and ultimately lower their insurance payments.
Voice Assistants Will Advance to Learn Users’ Context and Make Conversations more Natural
Voice assistants, from Siri and Alexa to Google Now and Samsung Bixby, will become much smarter and more context-aware when they are trained to analyze users’ physical movements through smartphone sensor data. Said data will help paint a picture of how users go through their daily lives, for example, whether they commute by train when they pick up their kids from school or go shopping for their weekly groceries.
When armed with this analysis, voice assistants will be able to better detect and predict a user’s context in real time and come back with a response that is more tailored to the users’ specific needs. For example, if a business traveler who is athletic and works out regularly
asks for the price of gym subscriptions, instead of a voice assistant providing a list of search results for multiple gyms and their subscription options, by taking into account the user’s behavior and situational context they can respond to them with gyms that offer a worldwide subscription option that are open 24/7 and located within the areas where the individual usually travels for business.
As IoT continues to expand to multiple touchpoints across healthcare, automotive and smart home devices, and as these organizations continue to contextualize people’s motion sensor data to solve their unmet needs, the true promise of IoT will take form and make the Internet of You a reality in 2019 and beyond.
About the Author
Toon Vanparys is CEO of Sentiance, a data science and behavioral change company turning IOT sensor data into rich insights about people’s behavior and real-time context for creation of personalized user experiences. Toon is also a serial entrepreneur who has served as CEO and business angel for multiple international technology start-ups.