Internet of Things Will Force the Web to Simplify
It is fascinating how technology can transform our lives. It improves our quality of life, makes us live longer, improves productivity, provides fun. The more advanced technology the more options we have to use it in different areas of our lives.
But the development in technology not necessarily means that we create more complex things, in fact, it is the opposite. Although technology is becoming more advanced and complex, the things we can do with it are becoming simpler.
Let me explain what I mean by providing a few real-life examples.
There have been almost 100 years of computer history (you can read more about the history of computers here) and through this time computers have become significantly smaller, more reliable, easier to use and maintain. The size of the computer has changed from a room-size to watch size. The advancements in technology enable us to build very reliable, simple and cheap computers.
There is a lot of hype about electric cars at the moment. Only in recent years, due to Tesla, electric cars are comparable in terms of performance to traditional gasoline (petrol) cars. Some people would argue but I see a future in electric cars. The thing I like the most about electric cars is that their construction is simple. You have only a few moving parts in comparison to hundreds of moving parts in a traditional gasoline (petrol) car (1). This leads to the fact that electric cars are more reliable and require less maintenance (e.g. no need to change the engine oil). Using an electric car is simpler as well; no gearbox, semi-autonomous driving, etc. If we add to it self-driving ability, in the future everybody will be able to use electric cars with ease and without a hassle of passing a driving licence.
Looking at this pattern we can now look at what is probably going to happen to other industries and areas of our life and I am particularly interested in the internet when I think a similar evolution is happening.
The internet is relatively young and it is constantly changing and adapting. We have already run out of IPv4 addresses and implemented IPv6 to fix it. 5G mobile network is around the corner because, with a growing number of mobile devices connected to the internet (related also to the Internet of Things) and increased traffic, 4G will not be able to cope for much longer.
With mobile web traffic already more popular for accessing the web than a desktop (2) we had to rethink how we create and design internet application and websites interfaces and simplify the interface for smartphones and other mobile devices. We will need to revisit this topic again on a major scale with the upcoming Internet of Things revolution. The number of things connected to the internet (which basically means any device connected to the internet; e.g. car, washing machine, watch, fridge), according to predictions, will increase to over 75 billion in 2025 (3). When this happens we will see a further imbalance in terms of mobile vs desktop access to such a degree that desktop computer internet experience will be only available for nerds.
The interfaces will become simpler to fit even more variety of devices (all Things connected to the internet that we need to be able to interact with). Many years ago Netflix application was used on 450+ devices (4) and this number has probably only increased since then. Because of this variety of different devices, we will see a simplification of the user interfaces and in a lot of cases no interface, i.e. voice interface. I know that many will be disappointed that they no longer will be able to express their artistic soul when designing a user interface but the same oil producers will be disappointed when we start using electric cars, and we need to be pragmatic about it.
Beyond the internet
There are many more examples where this technological simplification of our lives is happening. Let me give you another example. Microchips that can be inserted into our bodies (which is something that is already available (5)). Microchips are able to replace keys to our cars and homes and in the future, they might eliminate passports, credit and debit cards etc. and overall simplify our lives when we don’t need to carry and remember about all of these things.
I am fascinated by the technology and the internet and what can be achieved if we put it to good use. The internet, like any other technology, is changing, adapting and expanding and it will continue to do so. The next significant milestone is the Internet of Things where we will see all sort of different devices connected to the internet to further improve and simplify our everyday lives. The user interface of these Things will become simpler and in many situations, we will interact with the Internet of Things devices using our voice. With all these technological advancements, I think that we are very close to see the future we know only from sci-fi movies as part of our everyday lives.