Lessons from CES: How to make your tech gadgets great again

Inventors are racing to connect new things to the Internet, but too many of these devices create more problems than they solve. Observations at the CES technology convention suggest a way to get the gadget world back on track.

LAS VEGAS — A sad cycle has hit the gadget business. It started last week at CES, the technology industry’s biggest annual convention, where inventors competed to connect the most random things to the internet. This year’s “smart” things include pillows, air fresheners, and even toilets.

Months from now, you’ll see a lot of different headlines. “The smart things you buy are actually watching you.” (You can tell a lot about a man through his pillow and toilet.) Sooner or later, the story gets even worse. Your clever device has been hacked.

The inevitable result is, “Your smart thing is sitting in the attic gathering dust.”

My gadget is broken. It’s a phrase I heard repeatedly from exhibitors and longtime tech enthusiasts during the tedious hunt for big ideas at this year’s CES.

There’s little reason to envy 2018’s rich TV crop. Self-driving cars are still a long way off, and artificial intelligence still needs to mature. The best moment at CES came on Wednesday. The power went out for two hours, forcing people to sit out in the sun.

The Consumer Technology Association estimates that Americans will purchase 715 million connected technology products in 2018. Too many products create more problems than they solve. A wave of distrust of Silicon Valley is washing over many of us who always have our smartphones nearby but worry that they will ruin our lives.

As I explored the CES floor and listened to keynotes, I noticed some patterns that keep gadget makers off track, and also some ideas that I think could make their products better. I also noticed.

Here are four ways to make your gadget great again.

let’s respect our time

There are only 24 hours in a day, but you’d think otherwise with the many products at CES designed to fill life’s previously unimagined moments with more excitement. Talking glasses? How about a giant touchscreen refrigerator? Samsung, one of the world’s largest screen manufacturers, said during its keynote speech that in the near future a child will go from staring at their phone to getting into a car and having another big screen slide in front of their face. The video was shown. It doesn’t take him more than a second before he stops being stimulated.

The rule of thumb is: Before creating your product, ask yourself the following questions: What would a Black Mirror episode be about this technology?

Apple is not immune. Last Saturday, two of the company’s biggest investors issued an unusual public petition to Apple’s board of directors to address the iPhone’s “addictive” effects on children. This is a big problem, but I would like to appeal to adults as well. How many of you have ever picked up your phone to send a message, only to find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of distractions? Before you know it, you’re reading the Wikipedia page about Gal Gadot. But I can’t remember why I picked up the phone in the first place.

The solution won’t be easy, especially for technology companies like Facebook and Google, which profit from selling our attention to marketers. But I’m encouraged that people are starting to look for products that help them spend their time better, rather than ways to fill more of their time. Automakers are developing software that not only turns off your phone while you’re driving, but also intelligently responds to incoming messages and phone calls. And Samsung will soon release a new Thrive app, developed with Arianna Huffington, to help people disconnect from their phones.

Security is not our job

When you buy a car, you don’t have to buy seat belts or bumpers yourself. I trust car manufacturers to consider the safety of their cars. But the electronics industry has put most of the responsibility for security on us, selling too many smart products that are the equivalent of cars with zero safety ratings. The past few years have seen a spate of nightmares involving spying toys and hacked gadgets such as baby cameras that are broadcast on the web without parents’ knowledge.

Connecting anything to the Internet comes with risks. But there are basics that can prevent these devices from becoming bait for hackers, including providing over-the-air software updates, conducting ethical hacking tests, and requiring strong passwords. (It’s surprising how many smart home devices don’t even have these features.) Privacy is a concern as well. If you create a connected toilet, why do you need to log every time you flush? And who are you sharing that data with?

Although the United States lags behind Europe in regulations protecting consumer data, some companies are starting to get smarter. Samsung has announced that its next generation of connected appliances will include its Knox security software. There’s also a glimmer of hope in a small but growing niche of products that act like whole-home virus protection. Products like Bitdefender Box, Dojo by Bullguard, Cujo, and Norton Core look for unusual patterns of traffic on your home network, such as a thermostat that suddenly starts streaming video to Russia. I hope more home Wi-Fi routers include features like this.

Focus on “Internet of Services”

Exposing your refrigerator to the Internet is not helpful in and of itself. It’s just more expensive. The good thing is that there is always fresh milk in the refrigerator. Because they will order extra milk from the store when there is a shortage. Technology companies are focused on adding more things than ever before to the “Internet of Things” (also known as IoT), but in order to be installed in more homes, connected devices are becoming more and more need to solve the problem. To do this, we need an “Internet of Services.”

Smart door locks are heading in this direction. One brand, August, announced at CES a delivery service in partnership with a logistics company called Deliv. This will name participating retailers and allow them to drop products on their doorsteps.

Home security is an even better example. ADT recently launched home monitoring services not only for the products it sells, but also for its DIY home products from Smart Things. This means that your own connected smoke alarms, door sensors, and leak detectors can now report to a human operator who, for a monthly fee, can take action such as calling the police in your absence. can. Of course, this requires all devices to be able to communicate with each other, or at least with his ADT. Why can’t all of our connected things fit together?

don’t lock us up

Amazon and Google had a big presence at CES, even though they barely showcased their products. They were working overtime here to convince gadget makers to include conversational technologies Alexa and Google Assistant in their devices. This is a land grab to obtain even more valuable data about how we live in our homes.

It is also an effort to force loyalty on us. You may love Alexa, but do you really want to integrate her into your home? (Amazon erred on this path last year with its Amazon Key delivery service, which tied up relationships with retailers.) , what if another product comes out that only works with Siri? I have four different talking assistants on various devices in my house, and unfortunately, the virtual staff have trouble communicating with each other.

I was happy to see some gadgets trying to stay neutral at CES. Kohler’s Connected Toilet? Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. That’s progress.

This article originally appeared on Please read here.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button