It’s interesting to think about how connected devices and M2M (machine-to-machine)-enabled solutions being brought to market today will change life for subsequent generations. From the time this connected generation is born, many will have the privilege of learning about the world via connected devices—at home, at school, and everywhere in between.
When the “Connected Gen” learns to drive, their cars will be computers on wheels, capable of sending all kinds of data into and out of the cabin. When they enter the workplace, M2M will impact their day-to-day workflow, and this is true whether they choose to go into healthcare, construction, logistics, or plumbing. And when this generation grows old, wireless monitoring devices will keep them healthier and happier, longer.
In the July/Aug issue of Connected World, I wrote a product review on a system of wireless sensors from Green Goose. I find the company, and the concept, fascinating. Since my review of Green Goose’s Pet Kit, the company has released a second kit, the Toothbrush Kit, designed to help kids learn how long to brush their teeth. The new solution (said to have begun shipping last week) is a good example of the type of solution this connected generation will come to expect as part of normal life.
The new kit consists of a sensor that can be slipped around a toothbrush, plus a small egg-shaped “base station” that must be plugged into your Wi-Fi router and a power supply. As the sensor-equipped toothbrush moves back and forth, it sends a signal to the base station, which communicates in realtime to the application downloaded on a smartphone. A cartoon monkey animated within the app will respond to kids’ brush strokes by dancing, ultimately encouraging kids to reach the target brush time of two minutes.
Perhaps even more out there is the company’s Toilet Lid Sensor and corresponding Toilet Genie app, which help keep kids accountable for putting the toilet seat down. I’m sure you’re asking, as I did, why kids need a connected solution to learn these habits. The answer, in my opinion, is of course they don’t need it—kids have been learning these lessons “the hard way” for centuries. But I also think that’s missing the point.
You could get from point A to point B by calling for directions before you leave the house, or by printing turn-by-turn directions like millions did before GPS devices, but you don’t, you use your connected device. Why? Because it’s easier, more convenient, more accurate, more fun. It’s what we’re used to, and it has become the status quo for many people.
Perhaps using connected devices at every life stage, in just about every life situation, will become the status quo, too. Maybe the most connected generation yet will not see themselves as such; they will simply see dancing monkeys on dad’s smartphone as the best (and most entertaining) way to brush their teeth.