We are living in the Augmented Age. We, as individuals, are becoming more and more reliant on devices that augment our lives. As a result, connections between people and the spaces they live in and/or visit are changing rapidly.
What does this mean? Within smart spaces — like smart cities, venues, campuses and districts — IoT devices are gathering data that can improve experiences. We’ve seen a host of applications already gathering steam and, as a result, smart entertainment districts and cities are becoming synonymous with IoT.
Smart streetlights and smart meters are improving energy efficiency. According to Accenture, more than 74 million smart meters were installed in the U.S. alone through 2016. We’re also seeing IP cameras, drones and other devices improving security, as well as interconnected sensor networks minimizing traffic and improving productivity.
At the same time, we are seeing smart technologies that are augmenting our bodies and our lives — including sensors on wearables, smart contact lenses and audio interfaces like Alexa. Today, we are on the cusp of bridging two developments: marrying the data delivered by IoT devices with the augmented consumer experience that is also producing a great deal of data, and delivering the power of that data via new interfaces.
All of this is leading to new ways of thinking about how we experience and engage with smart spaces, and to big opportunities for the people who manage these spaces.
For example, in an entertainment district, the cooperation between IoT sensors and data and personal devices can change the entire experience and engagement between the space and the consumer.
As a user, if I am planning a night out, sensors can make my interface devices much smarter and more useful as I navigate my evening. Sensors can let me know which of the parking lots near my destination have open spaces and allow me to reserve one and pay for it, all from my mobile phone. My devices can then guide me directly to that parking spot, help me navigate from the parking lot to my favorite restaurant, and even offer up coupons or a special dessert offer before I even sit down.
This understanding of who is interacting in what space — and offering contextually relevant information — is especially interesting. Data collected by smart city devices can change the game for safety, security and incident management, for example. Should a fire or some other emergency occur in the city, that data can be used to provide real-time information to users on how to avoid that area.
At the same time, for people affected by an incident, the marriage of IoT sensors and cameras with the location capabilities of our devices can help lead people to safe evacuation routes. And in the case of public safety initiatives like Amber Alerts, our connected devices, working in concert with smart city technologies, can provide much more relevant, targeted and detailed information. For example, photos of the car taken from smart cameras can be sent directly to consumers who are in the area where the car was last seen or is suspected to be traveling.
Truly, the possibilities for improving the way people interact with smart spaces are seemingly endless. The only barriers left are adoption and integration. As IoT applications become more and more pervasive and consumer demand drives businesses and municipalities to more openly share data across networks, we’ll see the Augmented Age begin to deliver contextually relevant data in smart spaces throughout our days — and improve the ways we interact with each other and our surroundings.
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