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IoT is transforming our world into the age of context

Age of Context: How IoT will revolutionize our society
Age of Context: How IoT will revolutionize our society
Michal Lenchner

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic these days, addressing the interconnectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and machine-to-machine communications, that are deployed over the Internet infrastructure.

In fact, a 'Storm' is coming and we are not talking about nature or climate change. The new contextual world is a mix of mobile technologies, sensors, data capture and analytics, computing power, and multi-media experiences that combine text, audio, video clips, etc. These interconnected technologies that are embedded within cloud computing and the existing Internet infrastructure are expected to advance automation of technologies and applications in nearly all fields, for example the Smart Grid, Smart City, Healthcare and more.

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) field has come a long way in the past decade. From desktops and laptops, we now carry the computers in our pockets (Yes, the mobile phone and mini-tablets) to wearables (like the electronic wristbands). The computer has been shrinking, is coupled with sensors, and now we wear it. Not to mention the exponential growth in computing power and capacity.

So, is your NEST thermostat spying on you? Probably, yes; but this is not a bad thing, according to Robert Scoble. The keynote speaker at the NoPanels Summer 2014 event yesterday, Robert Scoble talked about the Age of Context in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley, CA.

Today, products can be highly personalized. On one hand, users will be tracked and feel that their privacy may be comprised. But on the other hand, people will be catered to, their needs predicted and delivered fast, and apps can improve life quality, offering convenience and additional personally-tailored services, as well as new and major features, such as better healthcare services and transportation safety.

There will be an impact on business since everything there is to see about you will be ‘out there’! That is a scary notion!

Read more about invasion of privacy and how the future of targeted and personalized marketing is changing our lives: "A 'storm' is coming into our world and will change the future of our society".

Scoble said that consumers leave a footprint not only on what they buy online, but there will be tracking of everything they do or experience! Through bluetooth, radio and wi-fi networks, there would be tracking of where we go for fun, which activities we engage with, which church or spiritual path we seek, anything you would do on your mobile devices and which apps we have used, whether we used Uber or Lyft and the locations and patterns of using these services, our GPS use for routes, what we have searched or surfed on the web, etc. Calendars could provide information on what, where and whom we met and when, and scanning of your contacts. Another example is tracking of travel destinations, hotels, conferences you attended, restaurants you visited (and which ones you frequented), and more. Even the 'Trash' on your computer may be tracked.

Scoble laced his engaging presentation with many examples from various industries. Co-authored by Scoble and Shel Israel, their well received book "Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy" describes how context will change the future of our lives..

In the new age of contextual world, businesses will have deep insights into customers' behavior, likes and dislikes. Retailers and shopping centers will be able to promote products and services 'at the door': When a customer walks into a mall or a store, he or she may get text messages with appealing deals that are specifically tailored to him/her, based on data captured and predictive models. For example, if you buy a certain cereal at the supermarket, the sensor in the box may text you and give you loyalty points, or offer you a coupon for the next purchase of that cereal, or a buy-two-get-one-free sort of deal.

There are many benefits to such targeted promotions and consumers can save money while retailers (box-stores, private shops, or online) will be able to increase sales - suggesting a win-win scenario for all. Of course, this new world raises privacy concerns: people are either freaked out of this future, or embrace it, while many are skeptic. However, there is always a likelihood that these technological abilities would be used in unfavorable, negative or illegal ways... The reader can use his or her imagination here.

The big question is: How do we keep our humanity in this digital advanced world?


Robert Scoble talked about the Age of Context at the NoPanels event, which was hosted by Procopio LLP in their silicon Valley Menlo Park office.

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP -

NoPanels -

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