It’s an expectation.
There was a time when we just used to insist that our mobiles, tablets and computers were ‘connected’. Blimey, there was even a phobia coined for the fear of being without mobile signal. Ok, so we’re still not there with an omni-present data connection – the Bedford train line into St. Pancras is a perfect example of that – but with over 99% of premises in the UK having 3G coverage from at least one operator, it’s reasonable to say that the expectation has been met.
So now mobile and computer connectivity is a hygiene factor.
And our expectations have moved on.
Now we are starting to expect historically un-connected devices to be ‘connected’ and with that, ‘intelligent’. Think smart TVs, heating (and fire alarms), cars, and soon, I am sure, ovens, white goods and storage amongst other things.
But we’ll not just expect that devices themselves are smart and connected, we’ll also expect them to be connected to each other.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication if you will. Via the cloud.
And so this also extends to environments being connected to each other.
We will, if not already, expect a connected experience across states – times, locations and circumstances.
We will move between our home, to our car or the train, into work and then out again, and into to our leisure time and expect these experiences to be integrated and, to a certain extent, aware (I toyed with the word ‘sentient’ but felt that was a bit too Terminator).
Consider how initiatives such as Google’s Physical Web will drive this.
The music we are listening to should adapt to what we are doing and continue when we move from location to location; the heating and lighting in our home should be set to the right level based on where we’ve come from and where we’re going; the TV shows that we like should be queued up ready to play on demand when we sit down; urgent messages should interrupt what we’re doing so that we can reply to them immediately and important ones should be prioritised for response when we are next in work-mode, with the remainder filed for review.
Mobile, or it’s near descendant, will drive this. It’s the one device that is with you constantly. It moves, with you, through environments and circumstances. It is connected and intelligent, and can interact with other such devices. It’s the brain in this technical entity of many parts.
In it’s nascence, this world brings a multitude of challenges across product design, user experience, UI design, power management, permissions and privacy, but it sure is an exciting world to be part of.