Connectivity and the new connected devices paradigm

Till recently, connectivity used to be about being able to connect to the internet. Whether it was from a notebook, a tablet or a smartphone it was about being connected to the rest of the world. Over the past three years that has changed dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, being able to connect to the net is an important and fundamental requirement, but we also want to be able to connect to the things around us.

Where did I hear this recently…”Big things have small beginnings!”

I am a slave to my smartphone. It’s my alarm clock, my email, my entertainment, my reminders all rolled into one. I hate to admit this, but the first thing I do when I open my eyes in the morning is to reach out to my phone and check my email. I no longer have a newspaper subscription, I read the news on my phone. Twitter, facebook, linked in all there. But these are examples of being able to connect to the network and get stuff that is happening out there. I have a banking app, an app for what movies are going on, travel…all of it.

The phone goes everywhere with me. It’s a welcome weight in my pocket, and I cant put it down. One of the first thing that I check when I get up to go somewhere is do I have my phone with me. But then you already know all of this. Maybe you are a little like me when it comes to your phone too. This post is not about the ubiquity of the smartphone, but how things are changing…

From being my little window into the world, my smartphone has become my remote control to the world. I have a little device installed in my home, the Peel remote, it’s a little dongle that is plugged into my home network which talks over ZigBee to a small fruit that sits on my coffee table (actually I mounted it on one of my home theatre speakers). It’s a program guide application that tells me what’s playing on TV at any given time, and using the peel application I can say “Watch on TV”. That turns on my TV, my set top box, my home theatre. All from my smart phone.

I have an Apple TV; and all of my music is either on my home PC or on my phone. Connect to apple TV and voila I have my music. I’m watching a video on youtube and I think I want to show it to somebody, play it on my TV.

I’ve become a bit of a exercise fanatic, so I have two tools of the trade…a nike + ipod It tucks into my shoe (ok I cant afford the Nike + shoe and have a little pouch that attaches it to the top of my shoes!), and a heart rate monitor. It logs my steps, my speed (on the treadmill) and my heart rate. It tells me when I am pushing it too hard, and when I am pushing too little.

I hear that there is a device available that will track my sleep; a weighing machine that my phone can connect to to log my weight; a BP machine that will log my Blood Pressure to my phone, which will then log it online for me; I want them all! And I suspect I am not alone… I’m still waiting for a good watch that has the battery life and supports bluetooth connectivity so that when I get of the plane in a new place, new country, my watch is telling the correct time.

Do I really really need this? Maybe not. Am I happy to have this information with me? Definitely!

Are these small things…definitely, but there are big things too. Imagine a doctor walking up to a hospital bed and with a tablet in his hand (not the swallowing kind!) he/she has a view into everything connected to you. Your smart phone is your key to the door, your mobile wallet and a whole lot more.

I’m a techie, I like to use technology. I also have the pleasure of being part of building it in the first place. A few of the things I listed above, Mistral has been a part of!

Ah yes…I remember where I heard that quote I put in the beginning of this post, in the trailer for the movie Prometheus…Oops!


*Published in EE Times India