The Internet of Things and virtual reality
Roaming the show floor at Mobile World Congress today, I’m repeatedly struck by the idea of the ‘killer app’. It’s an overused term, but it really means something in the context of the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything.
Compare and contrast: the AT&T Drive Studio with the Iddo. The first is a connected car hardware and software combo that lets you control various aspects of your car and your house without actually being inside. One benefit of this is the ability to turn the lights on in your house as you approach the driveway.
My question is why on earth you’d need the lights on before you get there? What if your partner is already home and wants the lights off? Obviously there are other benefits to the AT&T Drive Studio, such as the ability to heat your car up before you get in, but features like that just get me thinking that the ability to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
Which brings me to the Iddo. It’s a connected sensor for BMX fans. It’ll tell you how high you’ve jumped, how fast you went, and whether you pulled off that 360-degree trick. It hooks up to a smartphone app so you can track your progress and share your stats with other BMXers.
It may be niche, but it’s a feature set that’ll really excite people who strive to be good at BMX tricks. It’ll help them and inspire them. And these are the products that will drive adoption of the IoT in the near term. Connected cars, connected cities – these will happen later, as we discussed yesterday on our blog about 5G.
Another IoT gadget that got me thinking is the LG Magic Mirror. It’s a mirror that lets you look at yourself, but is also looking at you. A built-in Android app analyses the quality of your skin, and tells you how you’re looking.
As someone who is regularly baffled by some peoples’ willingness to spend £70 at a time on skin products that promise to make you look smoother, younger, browner or more radiant, the marketing potential of this kind of mirror is frankly mind-blowing.
Another technology that tends to get marketers excited is VR. A perpetually ‘future’ technology, we’re seeing this year that the addition of the smartphone into the VR landscape might just be what it’s needed all these years. I still see this as niche – use cases in which it’s OK for the user to wear a headset are still few and far between – but with HTC, Samsung and Sony announcing consumer-facing VR projects, the tech could start to get more than passing attention.