It’s difficult to imagine what 50 billion devices connected to the Internet will look like, and how that will change our lives. To help envision that world, IEEE Public Visibility has created a 360-degree, panoramic infographic hosted on IEEE Transmitter that shows how big data and the Internet of Things are likely to be used in various settings, including a gym, a grocery store, and a bedroom. Here are a few examples.
Syncing workout equipment to a mobile app can help people track their progress and receive tips on how to reach their goals. Connected equipment also could help motivate people.
Peloton, for example, sells indoor bikes for the home, equipped with a video monitor that can be connected to a live fitness class being held in the company’s New York City headquarters. From your living room, you can watch the instructor and riders in the class, and they can see you. The monitor also displays your progress over time. The bike sells for US $1,995.
With the potential for millions of treadmills and indoor bikes to be connected to the Internet, IEEE Senior Member Kevin Curran tells IEEE Transmitter there will be rich data available to analyze people’s behaviors during exercise. Curran is a computer science professor at Ulster University, in Northern Ireland. Of course, the availability of that data could have a negative impact, too. “It may lead to user profiling and identification of individuals,” he says. That could be controversial if, say, insurance companies use the data to determine that some clients should be charged more for coverage based on how much they exercise.
SMART SHOPPING CART
Forget waiting in line at the grocery store. Soon it will be possible to scan items on your connected shopping cart as soon as you grab them off the shelves, experts say. Each cart would have a monitor that could read the product’s bar codes, apply coupons, and check out. By setting up an account with the store, you won’t even have to swipe a credit card or save your receipts, which will be stored for you. Walmart began testing a smart shopping cart last year. Shoppers using the prototype scan their grocery list, then the cart navigates the aisles autonomously, helping shoppers find what they need.
Data from smart shopping carts can help supermarket chains understand shopping patterns, according to IEEE Senior Member Artur Ziviani, a senior researcher at the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing, in Petrópolis, Brazil. Store owners can learn, for example, whether people are brand-loyal or if they are willing to try new products on sale. Such information can lead to targeted marketing campaigns. On the other hand, what people purchase can reveal a lot about their lifestyle—which could lead to privacy violations, Ziviani adds.
Next time you’re in the market for a mattress, you might want to consider a smart one. Sensors in the mattress can give you information about your heart rate, breathing, and movement throughout the night. Your data can be tracked via the mattress company’s mobile app, which you can use to customize firmness and make other adjustments, like cooling down or warming up. The ReST Bed, for example, senses your sleeping position and adjusts automatically to give you proper support. A queen-size mattress costs $3,999. Another popular brand, Eight, sends you reports every morning with an analysis of your nightly sleep quality—all for the price of $1,050.
Such features can be invaluable for people who have trouble sleeping, but the technology raises privacy and security concerns, according to Ziviani. “Someone might remotely learn if the mattress is being occupied or not”—possibly indicating there is no one at home, he tells IEEE Transmitter. “Or someone could remotely control the mattress to disturb the user’s quality of sleep.”