In his talk “The Future is not an Internet-connected Egg Box,” Alex Jones of Fjord highlighted one of the major gaps in thinking about the internet of things. We shouldn’t link every device to the internet just because we can. Instead, the act of connecting must add value to the experience of using the product. The human layer of the interaction is where meaning and value is added. We don’t need to hook up our egg box to the internet. We need to make connected products mean something to the people using them. In the white paper Product Relationship Management, Evrythng CEO Andy Hobsbawn sets out a clear and compelling vision of how to make that happen.
“It’s time for our physical products to be as clever as Google, as immediate as Twitter, as informative as Wikipedia, as social as Facebook, as useful as Evernote, as personal as Amazon, and as entertaining as YouTube.”
I’ve enrolled in a short course about Gamification. It’s run by Kevin Werbach of the University of Pennsylvania, and I’m studying online via Coursera.
What is gamification? It can be difficult to pin down the definition of a fast-evolving phenomenon, because it changes so quickly. But let’s try. Right now, in the context explored by this short course, gamification is the use of game elements in non-game contexts to engage users or change behaviour.
This week I’m going to two exciting meetup events. Firstly, with the London Java Community, talks about the Internet of Things (details here). With 50 billion connected devices predicted by 2020, it’s a real growth area: QR codes, Near Field Communication, Bluetooth Low Energy and Arduino. Secondly, ProductTank, the meeting for Product Managers; speakers will discuss product management in payments, fixing broken checkout experiences and how people pay online (details here). Meetup evenings are a great opportunity to find out about new topics in an informal setting. I’m looking forward to them both.
Last Sunday I was chatting with a friend of a friend in the pub, and we got to talking about our interests. Over a few beers, we talked about Arduino, Home Automation and the Internet of Things. He works for a major multinational electronics corporation, and so it was really interesting to hear his perspective.
A few days later, I got a message from him in my inbox, inviting me to attend a meetup event on November 20 called ProductTank.
ProductTank November is all about our connected world of things. We are now living in a world where the web has spilled beyond the screen and into the physical world: connected devices are becoming commonplace and the smart home is now a reality. But what challenges does the Internet of Things bring from a design and product management perspective?