In 1988 a brilliant computer scientist by the name of Mark Weiser introduced a new phrase to describe a new paradigm of computing. That phrase was Ubiquitous Computing and it refers to “smart” and networked devices embedded within our environments. We are living in the era of ubiquitous computing.
Our lives have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The pervasiveness of smartphones, tablets and laptops has led to instant communication via the web, and that has profoundly changed human behavior. We blog, tweet and share status messages to a global audience with little cost. Information, social or otherwise, is overabundant and cheap. The internet or the ubiquitous platform, has been with us for a while, and all of that is really obvious.
The subtle and more dramatic change, though, is the impact to our environments. Have you heard of Nest, the learning thermostat? Did you know, also, that smartphone app’s can control the lighting, music, the temperature, and other appliances of your home? Such systems are out there, and more of these appliances are coming online each year.
Collectively, these smart devices will compose a “smart environment.” The current focus is to build smart devices to optimize energy consumption by connecting to a smart grid. You’ll notice the term “smart” in this context is limited to the control of a single variable: energy consumption. It is highly likely that more variables will be added, such as social, educational or business. So, at some future state, the smart home will need to have a dashboard function, where one can manage all of this smartness.
From an experience perspective, this dashboard must be extremely easy to use. As for the audience, we’re talking about everyone who has a home, so accessibility will be a major priority. As will readability. The dashboard’s goal will be to display the essence of an environment. Thus, energy and data consumption, will need to be displayed. Also, the social context or mood will also need to be displayed. A desirable educational goal would be to create a more profound understand of cost, as it related to an environment. So, if an environment is Leeds certified, this dashboard will provide a space to do this.
I’m going to create a concept of this dashboard and post it soon.