Self confession. I might have gone on a rant in that last post about the Barbie Dreamhouse. Maybe.
I recently listened to an episode of Adam Savage’s podcast that was discussing things seen at CES among other topics. Somehow the topic of internet connected water bottles came up (seriously). This is a water bottle that tells you that you haven’t drunk enough by sending notifications to your phone. Here’s an example.
I had to join their incredulity. I don’t need a water bottle to send me notifications that I need to drink more. Instead, I rely on being thirsty and looking in my water bottle to see how much is left. Is the next step Internet-connected chewing gum that will tell me when to stop chewing it?
This left me wondering if the Internet of things has jumped the shark. According to Wikipedia, the Internet of things is “is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity—that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.” Your Fitbit, smart watch, and web-connected car are all part of the Internet of things.
As technology has evolved more things have gained the ability to be Internet-connected and share data. Like Barbie Dreamhouse, though, just because you can put a sensor and a Bluetooth transmitter in something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. I’m not approaching this from the standpoint of someone who is against having massive amounts of data at our fingerprints – I’m fascinated by what I learn from my fitness band and try to alter my behavior for more positive results.
To me the question that needs to be asked before we add sensors or gadgets or whatever to a previously non-Internet enabled, is whether or not it needs to be there? Think about it from a user experience standpoint and see how it changes human behavior. Do we really gain from it or have we figured out how to make an item even more expensive? Are we targeting a wide audience or a narrowly focused group’s need?
It might be there is an audience out there for the Internet-connected water bottle. I just know that I’m not part of it.