It seems that every year, a new technology is touted as “the next big thing,” Occasionally, these technologies are an epic fail — think Warner’s Qube or the Net PC — but more often, they are true game changers. Technological advances have had a major impact on how companies do business as well as how they market to their customers. For example, iBeacons offer new ways to market to a targeted customer, and mobile apps have had an even greater impact.
Smart devices, both those already on the market and those scheduled to be released within the next year or so, deserve the nomination for “most likely to succeed.” Their success will be based not only on their effectiveness, but also on the public’s growing willingness to embrace new technologies; some of the devices would have had limited appeal two or three decades ago when the public had less trust in and experience with technology. Today, however, people are more comfortable with technology — and they are beginning to demand it in increasing numbers.
Perhaps no industry has more potential for using smart devices than the healthcare industry. Although the technology described in C.M. Kornbluth’s 1950 science-fiction short story, “The Little Black Bag,” is thus far out of reach, technology is definitely moving in that direction, and at some point, perhaps there really will be an automated medical bag that requires no special training to use.
In the meantime, there is currently an automated external defibrillator that can be operated by non-medical individuals with only a few minutes of training. The devices analyze the patient’s heart rhythm, and if a shock is necessary, the fully automated versions warn the operator to disengage from the patient while a shock is administered.
Patients with some chronic diseases can make use of smart devices to monitor changes and transmit data to their physicians. For example, sleep disorder patients can use a sensor that detects when they are in REM sleep or how often they change positions during the night. In the past, this type of data could only be collected in a facility, which not only required the patient to spend the night, but also was typically a far cry from his usual sleep surroundings.
Glucose monitors that maintain a history of blood sugar levels, devices such as the bands from Fitbit and Nike+ that monitor activity and calories burned, and sensors that record blood pressure or pulse are just a few of the other smart healthcare devices now available.
When the term “connected car” was first coined, it merely meant that the car has the equipment to access the Internet and to share that access with other devices. This allowed for features such as automatic crash notifications, warnings that the driver was exceeding the speed limit, GPS accessibility and performance diagnostics. Normally, these cars could also access online audio or video files.
Today, connected cars can do much more. Owners of electric cars, for example, can remotely check the battery status, operate door locks, activate the heating or air conditioning or be guided to their car’s location. Nissan raised the ante in 2013 with the development of the NISMO smart watch. Worn as a regular, functional watch, the device not only monitors the car’s performance, such as fuel consumption and speed, but also monitors certain driver biometrics, such as heart rate.
Mobile payments, sometimes called mobile wallets, allow customers to make purchases in person or online using only their mobile device. Potentially, mobile wallets could someday eliminate the need to carry cash, checks or even credit cards. Available balances, whether in terms of deposits or credit lines, are recorded in cyberspace, and to tap the balance, buyers generally need to just wave their device at the point of purchase or enter a PIN for online purchases.
The smart technology is built into the mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, on the purchaser’s side. On the seller’s side, mobile payments may require the use of a near field communication device. Most methods require the buyer to pre-register for the service, but once the account is set up, little further interaction is required.
Whether you need an app to allow homeowners to operate their smart thermostat from miles away or would like to establish mobile payments for your retail location, EX2 Solutions can help. Feel free to contact us for the expertise you need.