Emerging devices are making the Internet more useful and exciting, but at the same time, these devices are also making the internet more complicated. From live-feed traffic cams to fitness trackers to smart watches, the family of Internet-based devices is growing more diverse every day, and integrating obscure gadgets that go far beyond the computers and servers that the Internet was initially built for.
Refining the design and integration of these devices will prove to be one of the primary technical challenges of the next 10 to 15 years. But if we do it right and don’t lose sight of our goals, the Internet will continue to be the single biggest development that makes this the most dynamic time to be alive in the history of mankind.
It is estimated that by the year 2020, somewhere between 50 and 100 billion devices will be connected to the “Internet of Things”—the phrase used to collectively describe all of the non-computer devices actively linked to the Internet. In order to maximize this potential, we need to take it upon ourselves to ease the introduction of these devices into the digital infrastructure. For a designer, the most important way to ensure that you are doing your part is to constantly remind yourself who you are designing for: the Individual, the Business, or the System (government agencies). With that, there are three overarching rules to remember:
- All Internet users are dedicated to saving or generating money by increasing their access to information. Strive to create devices that do this while saving the user time in convenient ways.
- Identify the specific needs of the Individual, Business, and System individually, and anticipate their evolving needs in the future. Ask yourself this question: where do the needs of these groups intersect currently, and where will they diverge or intersect in the future?
- Devise ways to isolate the specific interests of the target group that you are designing for. Prioritize the interests of that group over the pressuring interests of other groups.
To learn more about designing for the Internet of Things, visit our website to download our new feature article: Designing for the Internet of Things, as well as our new infographic on The Internet of Things–Past, Present and Future. You can also watch an archived webinar on the topic below.