Big Data and the things that talk

“If you can be connected, why not be connected?” Deeped Niclas Strandh mused when asked what his take on the Internet of Things is.

Strandh, a digital media strategist and social media expert employed by Uppsala Municipality, thinks increased connectivity between the physical and digital is a given, and that it can benefit us as individuals, as companies and as communities.

“That items are beginning to talk to other items is also a given,” he said. If his car was always connected it would not only tell him when the tank is running low, it could also hone in on the nearest gas stations. The stations in turn could notify him of any discounts or offers they may have, helping him to decide which station suits him the best.

Or if his wearable activity tracker could communicate with the closest sports store and convey information about what kind of sport he prefers, and how often he does it. “Stadium could know that I’m a runner, and see that I’ve used the same pair of sneakers for a couple of months, and then send me an ad for discounted running shoes,” Strand said. “It is purely personalized advertisement, that is extremely relevant to me and delivered at the right moment.”

Those two scenarios are examples of when a company can boost its revenue by reaching interested customers, and consumers can get better, more relevant, and more timely deals.

But the best interest of companies can also become the best interest of communities. “When it comes to health care… for example Apple just released Research Kit, used with the Apple Watch and the phone. Now they can create apps that are adjusted to the health needs of consumers.” Those kind of monitoring devices can also be used to sweep up large amounts of big data. Compared to collecting samples from patients in the physical world, or conducting health surveys, big data can provide the research community with vast amounts of information to analyse and help our health care workers understand what conditions are most prevalent and from where they may stem.

As a government employee at the municipality-level, Strandh also sees a lot of benefits for the city itself. “Big data collected from the community can let us know what the population’s habits are and what they strive for. It can help us to protect the environment better and solve issues in the traffic network.”

Individuals too could draw information directly from the vast pool of community-collected big data. “Imagine you have an app on your phone that tells you where the nearest beaches are, and how many people are there. It won’t tell you who is there, but it let’s you chose if you want to go to the packed beach, or a more empty one,” Strandh used as an example.

There are some issues that still needs to be solved, Strandh conceded, both in terms of security and personal integrity, and in terms of effective solutions for seamless, hassle-free connections.

But, he concluded, there is no stopping the Internet of Things now. “Everything will be connected… within just a few years.”

Categories: Technology, Advertisement, Corporate, Health Care

Tags: Internet of Things, community, connectivity, corporate, earnings, health, apps, logistics

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