Will Internet of Things analytics drive us all to drink?
Almost everything we do of significance is becoming electronically enabled and recorded. And with the advent of the Internet of Things that is trickling down to even the most basic things — like opening a bottle.
A printed tag on a bottle that can be read wirelessly to check whether the bottle is sealed or opened, its position in the supply chain and pass the information up to the cloud: is this technology looking for a problem to solve?
I am sure there are legitimate cost- and energy-saving applications for such technology. But the most excited praise from the company developing the technology, Thin Film Electronics ASA (Oslo, Norway), is reserved for the idea that early customer Diageo plc, the vendor of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch Whiskey, can use the information to send texts and emails to consumers (see Printed NFC tags detect opened goods).
Thin Film says Diageo likes the OpenSense technology because it can send marketing messages encouraging consumers to:
A) hurry up and open the bottle they have bought which is as yet unopened, pointing out upcoming occasions when whisky could be drunk.
B) hurry up and finish the opened bottle of whisky with tips on what to mix the whisky with etc.
C) seamlessly buy their next bottle of Scotch whisky or some other tipple sold by Diageo.
Many people have said that the money to be made in the Internet of Things will be in the data that is analyzed and acted upon. But some of the more frivolous applications of this technology feel like an intrusive waste of energy.
Already we are hearing about consumer distrust of televisions that eavesdrop on all living room conversations and pass them up the cloud to act as training information for better vocal command recognition. Similarly the idea is out there that social media flows are machine-monitored so that when you say you are heading out to eat, some Internet-based service can suggest restaurants close to you.
There's no doubt the Internet changes everything but I doubt that humans will adapt that quickly to being forever monitored by their possessions. To be honest it is enough to make me turn to drink — but I want an alcoholic beverage that is "off the grid."
—Peter Clarke writes about analog, MEMS, and sensors for EE Times Europe.
Article originally published on EE Times Europe.
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