The Internet of Things is going to dramatically change the ways in which we manage the many Things in our lives. Just look at the changing nature of our personal possessions. One of the biggest changes for me is reflected in the size of my book, CD and DVD cases. The rate of growth in the number of items that populate these cases has dropped dramatically. The growth rate in books added to my book case is the highest, I’m just not ready to fully embrace my iPad as a book substitute yet, but I’m getting there. CDs and DVDs however, are a different story. The number of new CDs or DVDs I’m adding has declined dramatically.
Photo albums, the hard copy ones anyway, have also stopped growing. All my photos are ‘in the cloud’ or on my phone or, something unfortunate, on Facebook. I’m still in the process of converting and uploading all my previous generation hard copy photos, but it won’t be long until all these are saved digitally too. The process of converting all these physical possessions to digital ones did get me thinking about how this new way of saving things is going to be different.
I do still enjoy having books, CDs and photos as a physical presence in my office and home. Picking up an iPad or my phone to listen to music isn’t quite the same for me as putting in a CD or opening a book. The physical interaction with these objects is still an important part of the experience for me and more easily brings back memories or connections with other things and experiences. Will our new digital only possessions carry the same weight in memory and experience? Will we have the same experience of remembering the purchase of a CD at a concert as we do for a virtual download? Flipping through vinyl records in a store is no longer an experience familiar to many, and CDs and DVDs are going the same way.
I guess, at least for me, I still need to have some physical versions of my digital possessions in my life. Perhaps this is a good thing. It allows me to differentiate between the things that are important and those that are less important. Saving things, in the Internet of Things, may be more about finding ways to save experiences and memories and less about just saving terabytes of data. Saving data will still be a big element in all our lives, but hopefully one that give us a way to save the important stuff, too.
Warren Miller is a contributing author at Mouser Electronics with over 30 years of experience in the electronics industry. He has had roles in product planning, applications, marketing and management for large established companies as well as startups. Currently he is President of Wavefront Marketing, a consultancy serving semiconductor, tools and intellectual property companies.
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