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Evolving Millennial Connections Using Wearables

Don’t look now, but that guy’s app just measured his heartbeat when he saw you and we think it’s a match! Sound far-fetched? Well, it’s not.

In a very interesting (and possibly draining) year-long dating social experiment, a Newsweek contributor discovered that finding love has gone beyond reviewing online profiles, as some of the industry’s largest match-making companies are developing “wearables” and apps that are becoming the newest weapon in match-making. Utilizing everything from musical playlists to physiological reactions (like that racing heartbeat) the apps match daters in close vicinity with similar-minded interests. Not surprisingly, millennials are becoming some of the fastest adopters of the wearables movement.

In a recent survey, more than half of millennials revealed they were excited about the growth of the wearables market. And it’s no wonder, considering the fact that overall, millennials are an extremely connected and influential generation. They’ve grown up in a world where smartphones are the norm, social media apps are preferred communication platforms and an untold number of studies have been conducted on best practices for marketing to them. And the lens from which they view technology – as an expected day-to-day necessity – is part of the reason they’re the power behind the growing widespread adoption of wearable technology.

As the Internet of Everything continues to evolve and connect more people, process, data and things, wearable technology is not only delivering more information to us – but also bringing us all closer together. Holidays like Valentine’s Day are the perfect reminder that connections matter and go to the heart of who we are as people. Considering our natural inclination to seek out meaningful connections and the technology we have on-hand, wearables are on trend to become an invaluable networking tool, empowering an entire new level of collaboration and opportunities between employees, clients and business leaders.

According to the Cisco 2014 Connected World Technology Report, millennials believe a wearable device will be an important part of workplace 2020. Indeed, it’s estimated more than 177 million wearable devices will be in use by 2018. With a smart phone in one hand, and perhaps a fitness tracker attached to their wrist, mobility is an essential part of the millennial lifestyle. In other words, they are data-driven and businesses the world over have taken a new look at everything from their recruiting practices (using Skype for interviews) to mobile-office options to recruit and keep millennial talent on board. Companies who have embraced a holistic approach to mobility are moving in the right direction, as the millennial workforce shuns the idea of carrying multiple devices to perform work-related tasks.

A couple of years ago, I talked about a connected workforce, focusing specifically on millennials and how their perspective, as the newest generation of workers, would alter the employment scene as we know it. I’m by no means a fortune teller, but myself and the entire industry have seen this become reality. Through the tools of the Internet of Everything – wearables among them – millennials are empowered to connect with people who they have never had the chance to meet and learn from. These connections and the cross-sharing of ideas, goals and common experiences are opening up a new world of opportunity as the world changes and our connections evolve.

What type of new experiences and opportunities for wearables do you hope to see in the future? Share your thoughts here and be sure to follow the discussion using #Internet of Everything.

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The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetOfEverything

The Internet of Things continues to add new things daily to a growing list of already connected things; and these “things” have the opportunity to completely change our world. Capabilities like context awareness, increased processing power and energy independence have all been made possible as more people and new types of information are connected. And each day, society gains and learns from these innovations, all a part of the Internet of Everything – a network of networks where billions of connections create unprecedented opportunities as well as new risks.

When it comes to the actual physical devices that are moving the Internet of Everything forward, most think of traditional conduits such as laptops, phones and “wearables.” But, the connections that are creating the Internet of Everything come in forms many may not even consider, from toothbrushes, trashcans, power tools – even entire cities. And while all of these connections amaze with their technology, the value that they create is the real story, for what it means now and for the future of our society.

The Things that Make Everything in the #InternetofEverything - blog image

Much is at stake when discussing the value that the Internet of Things holds. At this year’s CES Conference, it was estimated that the Internet of Things would become a $19 trillion market over the next several years. The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population by the end of this year and by 2018, 96 percent of mobile data traffic will originate from these smart devices. The amount of these connections, coupled with reduced technology costs, has created possibilities for the future of the Internet of Things that are seemingly limitless:

  • Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.
  • A blue-tooth connected toothbrush that connects to a smartphone app is just one of the many devices on the market that promote a better quality of life through improved healthcare. Wearable technology like fitness trackers, health monitors, insulin pumps and even “smart” clothing can measure consumed calories, heart rates, the amount of medicine in a person’s body and transmit that data to patients and medical professionals in real-time. And 71% of Americans claim these types of devices have improved their overall health.
  • The city of the future will be “smarter” as sensors turn street lights, waste receptacles and cameras into tools that will help municipalities operate on more efficient levels. Wim Elfrink outlined how Barcelona has used a network of sensors that transmit real-time data on temperature, noise and other conditions in one of the city’s most popular areas. Kansas City, Missouri has used the network of street lighting and interactive digital kiosks in conjunction with a $114 million streetcar project to promote the city to both residents, and companies potentially looking to relocate their operations.

Serving as a link to the Internet of Everything, all of the connected things that make up the fabric of the Internet of Things are leading to new economic opportunities, increased personalized connections and more importantly, positive intersections of technology and the human experience. Far beyond the monetary values that it can present to society, the Internet of Things is powerfully changing and improving quality of life for people across the globe, with billions of opportunities awaiting us all.

What impact has the Internet of Everything had on your life, professionally or personally? Thinking futuristically, in what ways can you dream of that use the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything to change our world?

We want to know what examples of the Internet of Everything you see in your own City of Tomorrow – your neighborhood! Join the conversation online by tagging your photo and video examples with #InternetofEverything and #CityofTomorrowHow is the Internet of Everything changing your city? 

Additional resources:

Review the Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2013

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Improving Lives Through Wearable Technology

Wearable technology continues to advance and will produce countless opportunities for wearers, as we move forward into the future. New connections, new technology and emerging solutions enabled by wearables will change nearly every aspect of our lives.

Our capabilities when it comes to technology today seem nearly endless. New devices are becoming smaller, smarter and more efficient. Think back to the television of 20 years ago. It pales in comparison to the television options available today. Years ago, TVs were pretty standard in terms of what you could expect. Today, the options are much more expansive, including things such as display size, width, depth, and technology behind the TV screen’s display. This sort of technology evolution is currently happening right now in terms of wearable technologies and the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Wearable technology currently resides in an early adopter phase. However, Read More »

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My #InternetOfEverything World: Living the Connected Life

The power of connectivity is driving change at an unprecedented rate, fueled exponentially by technology. According to Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index (VNI), over half a billion mobile devices and connections were added in 2013 and, by the end of 2014, the number of connected devices will exceed the number of people on the planet. And as mobile network connection speeds double by 2018, it will become easier and faster to increase the number of your connections, as well as how you use them.

Not only is everything (and everyone) getting connected – but those connections are getting smarter. It’s making us redefine what it means to be connected and moving us to see the world through a different lens. It’s about more than just creating connections – the user experience is now the new benchmark.

The experience starts with you. Self-tracking is a growing trend, with wearable devices and embedded computing becoming more and more pervasive in our daily lives. This is what’s driving the quantified self movement, defined as “an advanced way of collecting data about an individual’s life using technological tools.” I’ve been using activity-tracking devices for some time and currently own all of the most popular brands, so I can personally attest to the power of information and how it’s changed my behavior as a result.  A quick glance at my wrist, for example, offers a plethora of data that helps me decide whether to walk to a meeting or perhaps take a cab – with the ultimate goal of keeping me on track to stay fit and healthy.  And by gamifying the results with award badges and fun animations, these devices can also help motivate you in attaining your goals. I’m not alone in this quantified self quest – 90 million wearable devices are expected to ship in 2014, with health and fitness wearables being the key driver.

Read More »

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Wearable Technology — And Yaks?

I’m not sure I want my wardrobe to be smarter than I am. And I’m not sure if I want my clothes sending messages – to me, or anyone else. Actually, I’m sure. I don’t want my socks to beat me in trivia games and then brag about it on Facebook.

This whole wearable technology phenomenon has a lot of interesting and positive aspects to it. But in other areas it dives right into the world of, to put it nicely:

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

We’re in the ooooh, shiny! phase of the Internet of Things where potential is everywhere, everything seems like a good idea, and many people are moving too fast to ask the important question: Should we?

In this flurry of activity companies large and small, mainstream and fringe, are realizing “hey, we can stick sensors in this thing!”

Reality check: Sensor technology is small enough now that you can put them in anything. The trick is doing it in a way that makes sense and provides a benefit that’s actually beneficial. And for some idea-generators out there, that the combination of the sensor and the function makes sense.

I’m not against the idea of wearable technology. In fact, I’m considering hopping on the fitness-wristband bandwagon. Nike or Fitbit might not talk me out of that afternoon taste of dark chocolate, but the information they provide may convince me to walk the dog as penance. Read More »

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