A Slightly More Connected America

I tend to vacation off-the-grid, leave technology behind and turn the phone off. It’s a welcome chance to focus on the here and now, as opposed to the calls, texts, emails, and social sphere that links to everyone’s activity. On each trip I encounter those that prefer not to leave it all behind. Sitting at the pool with a laptop is better than in the office, the wait to board the boat is a chance to field one more call; always on, always connected is just the way life works. It’s an individual preference and one that will increasingly require a conscious decision. The secluded spots in the world are getting cell service and more restaurants in the mountains have Wi-Fi or cell signal boosters providing that opportunity to check in back home. As American’s we own an increasing number of devices capable of synching up to the connected oasis.

There is a distinctive consumer technology shift occurring providing more chances to be connected at home and on-the-go. Many of the devices coming to market provide an opportunity to be slightly more connected. In contrast to the multi-function capabilities of laptops, smartphones, and tablets, devices that fall under the Internet of Things moniker often provide single-use features.

As industry insiders we use terms such as use case and look to understand the problems new technology solves. For example, smartwatches are sarcastically criticized as solving the problem of taking your phone out of your pocket. But, a successful device launch no longer needs to demonstrate a litany of features; indeed we own a multitude of devices that already provide that sort of value. A transformation is occurring where embedded connectivity offers additional elements to products we’ve used for centuries. Watches provide call notifications, light-bulbs can be turned off remotely, locks can be secured while having a boat drink in the Caribbean, and surveillance video from home can be streamed to your mountain lodge. Embedded connectivity is enabling more single-function features within everyday products. It’s driving us to become a slightly more connected culture. In fact, one-in-ten Americans already bought into the promise of a connected home and adoption rises to one out of every four Millennials.

My next escape will be camping on an island in the middle of a lake. Rest assured, our campsite will be slightly connected rocking out tracks through wireless speakers, well, until the batteries run down.