The Internet of Me: When the Consumer Becomes the Electronics
With the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show coming up, we sat down with Matt Anderson, President and Chief Digital Officer at Arrow Electronics. In his position, Matt has an enviable view of the present and future of electronics. His unique insight gives the rest of us a preview of the next evolution of the internet, the Internet of Me (IoMe).
What is the future of the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Many people are thinking about the IoT in the wrong way. It’s like how the Yellow Pages thought they just had to put the same information online to survive. People are making apps that provide access to information, but we still have to push buttons to get things done. As useful as digital assistants are, I still have to ask for what I want.
The future is more advanced than we realize. It will integrate with our DNA. Think of all the different systems in your body fighting with each other, telling you where to look, how to use your hands, what to put in your mouth.
Now imagine tech working in your body at the biological level. Your body could express itself on its own, without you having to be in charge, to deliver more happiness, better health, whatever you truly need and want.
That’s an ambitious goal. How is a device going to be able to know – and deliver – what I need and want?
Consider how much mind space diabetes requires. This condition puts people into a hunter-gatherer mode that requires lots of awareness and effort to make sure they are eating certain foods in the proper amounts at the right time.
Putting an insulin monitor inside people that tells them what to do is Internet 2.0 thinking. It’s like the Yellow Pages example. Sure, you get more information to work with, but now you have to analyze that data and make dietary decisions. At some point, our brains hit a breaking point.
With the IoMe, our biology can change the world around us without our being cognitively aware. That’s the key: Our biology changes the world, not us. So instead of grabbing what’s at hand when you’re on the go, your body will recognize your immediate nutritional needs and order a perfectly balanced shake at your destination – it’s like instacart by your body.
This will change the fabric of how we live. Imagine an IoMe device that detects a reaction from a particular food. This information could be collected over a population and trigger a difference in how a crop is grown, prepared and distributed, impacting the entire supply chain.
Companies are already facing challenges with implementing IoT technology. How much more complex will IoMe design be?
You’re right. Today, for instance, appliance companies don’t have in-house expertise to connect sensors, analyze data and implement intelligence. It’s only going to get more complex when you need access to biologists, chemists and psychologists.
We’re going to need to rethink everything. Imagine a DoS attack on your body. We’ll see improved forms of security evolve in parallel. Maybe no one will need to use private keys anymore because we’ll use DNA-based encryption. For the first time in electronics, we’ll be leveraging biology more than mathematics.
With this much complexity, what’s it going to take to design products for the IoMe?
Companies need ways to deliver greater value without it being harder to do so. And if we want to see what the IoMe can really do, we need to get this technology into everyone’s hands. Non-technical people who have never touched an IC or written code or used the cloud need access to this technology. Think of how much the world changed when the printing press brought knowledge to the masses. We need a way to democratize technical knowledge in a similar way.
At Arrow, we’re working on ways to drive innovation. One way Arrow.com has done this is to move beyond simply being the largest distributor of raw goods – shifting focus into the knowledge space by providing an online collaboration platform that brings experts together to innovate and produce technology.
In many respects, Arrow is creating a new language. It’s like reversing the Tower of Babel. When everyone spoke the same language, they could build an incredible tower together. Imagine experts from different fields all talking the same language. They’ll be able to co-create in ways we’ve never imagined.
Can you give us a preview of what to expect?
The IoMe is going to turn the world on its head. It’s like this: Today, people go to trade shows to see electronics. In a few years, the attendees will be the electronics.
See how Arrow is enabling innovation! Visit Booth #51033 at the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas, January 9-12.
This article was produced by WIRED Brand Lab in partnership with Arrow Electronics.
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