Actually, it’s not the future until we all have hoverboards. It’s 2014, and I want my hoverboard! Tech industry: You have one more year.
Turns out, revolutionizing our methods of travel didn’t quite pan out, yet. We don’t fly in glass bubble ships a-la Jetsons, nor do we have the flying cars depicted in Fifth Element (Is he really the taxi driver you want? Only if you want to save the universe.)
What we do have is an incredible level of interconnectedness. Devices can communicate across the globe, each end remaining completely wireless. Voices and music can spring into our ears from a phone 30 feet away, and all we need is a small headset which lets the world know you are oblivious by its consistent blue flash. It seems like everything can talk to everything else, and my data is accessible where ever I need it.
This is only the beginning of what is called The Internet of Things.
Imagine waking up one day to a slight vibration from your wrist-mounted activity monitor (which, of course, analyzed your sleep patterns to wake you at the best possible time). Upon noting you are up and moving, the monitor notifies your home lighting to illuminate a path to the bathroom. While there, you weigh yourself (lost a pound, yeah!), which is automatically uploaded into your daily nutrition log. By the time you get to the kitchen, your toaster has already pre-heated for the waffle it’s anticipating you will have (since your nutrition profile today has accounted for your improved weight/BMI). Fast-forward to leaving for work, and as you drive out of the garage, you realize you forgot to switch off the lights, adjust the A/C, and even set the alarm. Is the fan still on? No worries, your phone detects it has left the house, and as the garage doors close, the lighting shuts off, A/C switches to an energy-efficient schedule, alarm arms itself, and fans shut down. Not knowing this, you quickly say, “Hey, Siri, is my home secured?” “Your home is set for away mode. All accessories have been switched to your pre-set schedule. Don’t worry!” “Thanks, Siri, now play my favorite music playlist.”
Sounds like a wild future, right? Except you can do all of that right now, with products available on store shelves (or at least online).
Companies are aiming to become the master of your domain, literally. At Google’s recent developer conference, they announced a home automation platform upon which products and software can be developed so that everything talks to each other. Same ideas in mind, last month, Apple announced HomeKit, a platform designed, in their words, to be, “a new framework for communicating with and controlling connected devices in a user’s home.”
This is the type of future your members will expect. Where everything communicates with everything else, and not just swaps data, but can provide valuable information from this interaction. Your member has just changed their mailing address and, one month later, their last name. The CU system “of the future” then automatically notifies you that they are likely just married (or divorced). Can you see how having that information brought to light might help your efforts? And for your members, a banking platform that can detect they have been visiting car dealerships lately, and sends a notice asking if they would like to get pre-approved for a loan.
The Internet of Things is in its infancy, and these situations are likely only the tip of an iceberg capable of changing our lives as much as introducing the personal computer or the Internet.
How is your credit union planning for a connected future?