The IoT – Do you know it when you see it?

I have found one interesting thing to be true about the software industry: we tend to get so caught up in the intricacies of building technology that we forget to think about how it’s really being used in the world. And we forget that real users don’t care about the buzzwords or vegetable-y tools we used to build any of it.

I encountered this up close and personal this past week as I followed a realtor around the mountains of New Mexico to look at some of the local homes for sale. During our initial meeting, she spent several minutes explaining to me that she isn’t technical and I could help her understand her computer. A lot of people say that to me and I stopped explaining years ago the difference between a software professional and a computer technician. So I laughed politely, climbed in her car and roamed the wild New Mexican landscape with her.

Sometimes non-technical doesn’t mean what you think it does…

But here’s what I watched her do… Instead of fishing house keys out of her purse or using a combination lock box, she astounded me with an example of the IoT in real life:

– first, she used her phone to retrieve a passcode in real-time

– second, that passcode was sent not only to her phone app but also to a bluetooth device

– she then either entered the passcode on the lockbox to open it and retrieve the house key, or she used the bluetooth fob to send the code to the lockbox

From there, email notifications are sent to the listing agent to let them know that we visited the home.

This is what we need to realize about the IoT

Real people use it every day as part of their jobs or personal lives without even knowing they are using it. And many of those people consider themselves non-technical… so we’d better make sure that everything we design is simple and fits into their existing paradigm. In this case, a realtor uses items that are familiar to her in a new and convenient way that was easy for her to understand.

As we innovate, that should be our mantra – familiar, convenient, easy.