With recent reports showing that we are increasingly addicted to our smart phones, is it time to look up from that Facebook page, and immerse yourself in the world around you?
A number of recent reports indicate that we are increasingly addicted to our smart phones, using them at the dinner table, and even taking them to bed with us. There is no doubt that users find huge value and joy from the apps that our little gadgets provide to fulfill our curiosity and serve our needs and desires.
In the current generation of devices interacting with your social network can be anything but social so how do we “raise our gaze” and interact with the world around us?
You could take the extreme step of going cold turkey or banning smart phones, but to do that would miss the point. Instead we should look to technology to enhance our environment. Wireless technology has the potential to change this bringing the experiences that live on the small screen to the environment around us.
The majority of focus to date has been to get data from the world around us and present it to us via the smart phone. There are many simple examples such as Gear4 Alarm dock or the Withings Blood pressure cuff where the smart phone is used to provide the user interface to the devices around us. This is a good approach and enables the most simple devices to benefit from the rich user interface of a smart phone.
There are very few accessories today that take the reverse approach, and take the information available on your smart phone and make it available to you in context and in your home environment. Nabaztag the Wi-Fi enabled Rabbit was one of the first devices to take the reverse approach gathering information from the Web via Wi-Fi and displaying it to the user in the home. Ambient living have used Wi-Fi to bring the weather forecast to your alarm clock. Other products and concepts include a car key-fob that gives you a one glance view of the traffic status on your commute, or a pill pot that indicates when your next dose is due from your prescription.
Bluetooth low energy single mode devices will enable app developers to create a whole new range of accessory products for the smart phone. The challenge will be to bring the personal value of an app to the real world around us.