From home appliances to wearable devices to city services, everything in our environment is becoming increasingly connected. But what do these connections mean if we are not connected to one another?
At the SXSW panel The Building Blocks of a Smart World, the creators of today's smart ecosystems at Next Door, SmartThings, and Urban Engines gathered to discuss how we as humans can use technology to connect more intuitively with each other and our surroundings.
Here's what we learned:
1. All-age access is best
People of all ages can use the Next Door platform with ease. Diversity in the age range of audiences is a testament to the simplicity and utility of the app; in fact, some of the most engaged users are teenagers, who use the app to find work by advertising their services such as snow shoveling and lawn care.
2. Time is the greatest gift of all
Urban Engines, founded by Stanford scientists, wants to give people back their time. They do this by helping commuters (and cities) optimize travel times based on aggregate city data.
3. It's what's on the inside that counts
SmartThings sees a world where the data from your home can help power cities through a variety of approaches, includingsmarter use of energy as well as serving elderly populations in partnerships with hospitals and centers for assisted living.
4. The time has come to level up
As population densityin cities continues to grow, the demands on technology to make cities highly functioning will increase. Openness, automation and the Internet of Things proves that businesses and governments alike understand that the application and outcome of harnessing data has enormous rewards.