Once upon a time, mobile phones did – unsurprisingly – what they said on the tin. They were tools used for calling people. Then along came Palm, Nokia, and Blackberry who added email, cameras, apps, Internet access and the smartphone was born, with the big winners today obviously Apple and Samsung.
Smart phones are clearly ubiquitous today. Even my mother has one. But other smart devices are now launching with the Internet of Things (IoT) finally happening – remembering it’s a concept which has been around for a very, very long time.
There are even smart hairbrushes. Yes, really. At CES in Las Vegas this year, Kerastase – a L’Oreal brand – launched a $200 hairbrush with built-in microphones, motion and conductivity sensors along with Wi-Fi. The world’s first smart hairbrush – developed by Withings, a Nokia owned company – feeds data to an app where software algorithms produce a score for hair quality with products then recommended from the L’Oreal range which might improve it. You’re probably reading this with horror and thinking what the heck, even Kim Kardashian might scoff at this type of “smart” nonsense.
If you’re into buzzwords, the IoT – some argue – is actually getting a bit old hat. The bleedin-edge techno-cognoscenti are now taking about artificial intelligence – embedding tech and “intelligence” into everything from – as mentioned – hairbrushes, cars, toothbrushes and so on. Again, it begs the question of whether we need all this type of stuff? It smells very much to me like IT looking for a solution rather than the other way round.
I know the above are examples of consumer IT not enterprise tech. But many firms are still struggling with how to manage consumer devices in the workplace in general – BYOD to coin another bit of IT jargon – with all the obvious issues about security, management, support and so on. This is where enterprise IT staff energy should be focused rather than getting distracted by super trendy IT which probably doesn’t add one follicle of commercial value.