The Internet of Things has been revolutionizing the technological world and spurring myriad tantalizing inventions, but a new report by Accenture details the effect IoT will have on "living services," a range of intelligence that learns by analyzing the world around them.
"...at the human level, living services will affect our lives in a much deeper and more positive way than mobile and web services have. In effect, living services breathe life into what is rapidly becoming a vast network of connected machines and objects, enabling branded services to flow through and utilize this connected environment," says Brian Whipple of Accenture Interactive.
Since they are so integral to the daily experience and, now with the wearables uprising, are so proximate to our bodies, living services are set to change the very way in which humans lead their lives. This is made possible by the Internet of Things, which compiles a broad range of data gathered using sensors and real-time analytics. The data bleeds through nearly every area of daily life, from gathering health information (for instance, heartrates on smart watches) to paying for groceries (using ApplePay or the yet-to-be-released Android Pay). We are entering an age in which everything is connected and monitored, and that data is easily distilled, analyzed, and utilized.
And yet, because devices now have such tremendous data gathering power, the unseemly side of living services is their uncanny ability to know the user. Instead of laying out swathes of advertising groundcover, retailers will have the ability to target customers with precise ammunition: individual ads made for individual buyers. It is remarkable, but slightly unsettling. While users are accustomed to ignoring the bombardment of ads they encounter when shopping or online browsing, it may become much more difficult to ignore ads that target the individual on a much more intimate level.
On the other hand, the information gathered from living services will transform markets, improve health management, and overhaul the way in which humans communicate. The report finds that everything from routine building maintenance to smart cars will be integrated on a city scale by 2020. And so, for better or worse, living services are here to stay, connecting us through networks and data and the minutiae of daily routine.
The full report can be viewed here.