The Economist special report on the coming wireless revolution discusses the falling cost of communication chips and that soon everything will be connected to everything.
Apple's iPod and Nike's running shoes can interconnect so that the music player can select songs that match the jogger's pace. I remember at school running cross countries. Half way through I and those around would be flagging and if the Instructor appeared he would join us, encourage us and turn up the speed and we would respond... Wouldn't it be great if Nike+iPod could do this by taking us up a beat?
What if we could connect in a health monitor to inform us if we are doing the right thing for our blood pressure or calorie burning? Or if we had GPS we could have information about what we are passing; and route-picking.
With the launch of the athletic fashion line, W Hotel and Puma are offering their guests a multi-layered training program including custom-designed jogging maps, pre-loaded iPods featuring indoor and outdoor running guides, a “Bike a la carte Service” and a so-called SWEAT package. The running-guides for the iPods are produced by the audio guide company SoundWalk and, aside from training advice, focus on tourist guide-like information such as history, landmarks and fun facts for the outdoor guides and shopping, restaurant, and nightlife tips for the indoor guides. The maps also feature trivia facts and highlight landmarks, while guiding the enthusiastic guests safely through Central Park, Lincoln Park or Golden Gate Park.
Besides a special room rate, the SWEAT package also includes a jogging map, a fast-drying micro fiber towel, discounts on all Puma TrainAway products at W Hotels The Store, and a complimentary download of Puma’s TrainAway audio guide. The Bike a la carte service will be available with W’s 24-hour concierge and comes with a bike map, a towel and a bottle of water.
I remeber going to a session at the now-defunct MediaLab Europe facility in Dublin to see an application that overlaid maps with time information so one could plan a 20 min or half an hour trip into the city. Imagine connecting that with a preferences list (do you like art? buildings? shops? etc.) and getting the sytem to give you a route that could be downloaded to your iPod and then commentary also provide as you set off through the city?
So as Bruce Sterling's Internet of Things evolves so the ideas for exploiting them will bubble up. As long as they don't cut out the middleman... us! Because innovative technology is only innovative if it does something for us or in the words of Kevin Roberts in Lovemarks
"Innovation is something that changes the life of the customer. It changes the life of the customer in some way, or the world in which the customer experiences things. That's innovation."