Internet of Things (IoT) and User Experience

When I talk with other young people about the Internet of Things, our conversations leading toward our Amazon, Alexa, and how our other devices like our Philips light switches and simply save alarm systems, are hard to set up and cumbersome to talk with.

Well, we don’t discuss are some of the bigger picture issues that are coming to life and the opportunities that exist in enterprises for young people to make a better, greater impact. Today, companies are using the Internet of Things to save lives and money. A paper company installs sensors along a production line that’s a kilometer long. These collect data about performance and suggest preventative maintenance. A supermarket chain installs sensors with their produce to keep food safe and fresh and automatically replaces it when it’s not. A city offers kennels on Main Street so citizens can safely and comfortably housed their pets while they spend money at local businesses. These examples represent just the tip of the iceberg, and no UKCS people were involved in any of them. The Internet of Things space is maturing without us and the leaders are technologists and business people and that world is complicated. For example, partnerships and collaboration between organizations is necessary for the Internet of Things to work. But huge vendors like T-Mobile, Amazon, S.A.S. and tiny startups alike doing everything from health sensors to semiconductors are all talking about their own Internet of Things development kits. There is a disconnect between the necessary collaboration and competition. Another issue smart is a central theme of the Internet of Things. But everyone doesn’t agree on what it means. And it could be very different for the enterprise industry, cities, businesses, homes and individuals. What we do know about Smart is that it often encompasses all or just one of these elements data input, for example, voice or sensors that may or may not have a user interface, data collection and analysis that’s big data through some network connection, which could be wireless or not. Analysis of big data, which may or may not include machine learning, security and privacy because there are unimaginable security concerns and just as many privacy considerations that need to be addressed, communication and visualizing insights. This is the output of data to someone or multiple people or computers.

These outputs often are controlled through dashboards and apps, which, from the few I’ve seen, do not follow even the most basic UI principles. U.S. involvement is needed for strategy and design of sensors, dashboards, enterprise apps, methods for finding and joining those apps, voice alerts and notifications to name just a few areas. The Internet of Things is posing probably the most intricate and complex UX challenges that we have ever seen. But opportunities abound for you to guide and make a better internet of things.

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