You’ve heard of the Internet of Things. It’s a network in which every device that you interact with can communicate with a host of other devices. But have you ever wondered what happens to all of that information?
Say hello to the Information of Everything (IoE). This is a new tech trend for an era in which people, businesses, and devices are becoming increasingly more connected. The Information of Everything has the potential to revolutionize the way you experience the world and how companies interact with customers.
Cited by Gartner as one of the top tech trends for 2016, IoE is the next phase of information aggregation ushered in by big data. In the past, information was handled through multiple disconnected streams. It was correlated manually or with separate software applications and analyzed before being translated into actions. This confusion still exists to some extent. Especially in the business world where many companies are still trying to get used to the idea of integrating each platform that collects and delivers customer data.
Information of Everything seeks to connect isolated, incomplete information to make pertinent data accessible and easy to interpret. Given that the data collected by today’s devices goes beyond basic media and content consumption to include contextual, sensory and experiential signals, this may prove to be quite the challenge. New semantic tools are being developed to help make sense of the intent of information being collected.
Companies are already dealing with an era in which integration and extensive connectivity have become essential. ERP and CRM platforms designed to correlate and transmit data are still being updated to adjust to the influx of information collected from a customer base that has moved away from their computers and into a world where smartphones, smart watches, and smart home devices are becoming the norm. Businesses will need to look for new solutions to handle the increased complexity of information received on a daily basis.
This new level of data collection and interpretation has the potential to usher in an age of ultra-personal customer experiences. You may have noticed a trend in this direction already with the adoption of ad retargeting and push notifications. You can expect an even greater degree of customization as the influence of IoE spreads. Since each consumer will be interacting with a unique set of devices and generating an individualized pattern of behavioral information, the companies that become adept at interpreting and applying this information will be the ones who come out on top.
What if every experience you had and every action you took in real life and the digital world was connected? That’s how Information of Everything works. The information collected from one device or channel is available to and has an influence on all the others. Life becomes a user experience in which everything from your smartphone to your refrigerator has the potential to learn your preferences and anticipate your actions through the data that you provide. These “autonomous agents” are another tech trend set to transform the way that people interact.
With the Information of Everything, every device that you use is interconnected. The flow of information creates an environment in which the digital merges with the physical. This line may blur even more as gesture control and voice activation gain popularity as ways to interact with technology. It’s possible that there may come a time when technology can interface with your senses to create realistic virtual experiences beyond anything that can be imagined at this point.
This act of all devices interfacing with each other is also referred to as the device mesh. The term accurately describes a world in which devices are in constant communication that results in the outpouring of information characteristic of IoE. You’re already experiencing the device mesh if you use any smart home technologies, and the near future is poised to bring an even greater number of devices into the picture.
All advances in technology come with their fair share of potential problems. The most pressing in the case of IoE is the threat to information security. The more points that data has to pass through, the greater the chances of it becoming compromised or corrupted. Current security measures will require upgrades to properly handle the expanding influx of data.
Other challenges are likely to emerge as Information of Everything becomes more prevalent:
Handling the growing influx of information from IoE will require further development of autonomous agents. Creating devices that can perform the virtual equivalent of thinking and learning is crucial. Machines with these capabilities will be able to adapt to the rapid changes that IoE will bring as it develops into a fixture of life and business.
Although IoE is still in its infancy, it appears poised to become an all-encompassing trend stretching from the smartphone in your pocket to the databases at global companies. There may be a day when it’s no longer a choice to embrace the stream of data. As technology continues to grow and change, life will inevitably evolve to incorporate the new experiences that Information of Everything has to offer, creating a hyper-connected world in which information is as valuable and pervasive as any other currency.