Living in the digital age where new technologies are sprouting up every day begs the question of what's next. With the internet, an impossible amount of information is at our finger tips with just the click of a button. Our phones are also satellite maps, radios, cameras, flashlights, etc. We can track our heart rate, breathing, and workouts with a watch. These things would've been impossible to imagine back when the internet was first coming out and thought to be just a fad. The future now is even more difficult to predict.
One newly emerging and rapidly increasing technology is the Internet of Things (IoT). It's an online platform that connects computers in devices, allowing them to collect, analyze, and exchange data. Computers have become smaller, more portable, and therefore more integrated into our daily lives. We use desk top computers, laptops, tablets, phones, i-pods, etc., all with sensors to collect information. The IoT allows these devices to share data with an end-goal of a more elevated human experience. In the winter, we can start our cars while eating breakfast and go from warm house to warm car. We can manage and monitor our household utilities from a smartphone.
Laurel Stanley, the User Experience Design Lead at Herman Miller, is at the front line of this developing technology. She began her career in the late 90s in web developing and designing new apps for businesses. As the internet became more sophisticated, she started becoming interested in user experience and the human element of technology. She was part of the team that founded ArtPrize and designed the web platform the event uses to connect artists, voters, and venues. As a professional in a newly developing field, she's been a trailblazer and has contributed to defining what it means to specialize in user experience. She's even written many of the job descriptions at companies she's worked for.
IoT and user experience-focused technology is still in its beginning stages, but has potential to really affect the way we live our lives. It will be interesting to see how it impacts our culture in years to come.