digital and social media | July 29, 2015

Internet of Things Expert David Rose Talks Enchantment in The Guardian

In an interview with The Guardian, David Rose—preeminent speaker on the Internet of Things—claims that our interactions with technology are “undergoing a giant shift.” This change is being fueled by a very basic human desire for wonder and enchantment—and could mean the end of the smartphone era as we know it.

Sometimes called the 4th Industrial Revolution—or simply The Next Big Thing—the “Internet of Things” (or IoT) refers to the process by which everyday objects go online and become responsive. Imagine: an umbrella that lights up when the forecast calls for rain; window shades that move with the sun; Skype cabinets that light up with each call. For Rose, it’s all about simple-to-use, human-centered tools “that interact in ways people feel are natural and intuitive.”

From Screens to Enchanted Objects

But embedding Internet capability into household effects isn’t about further consolidation into screens (in line with wearable tech like the Apple Watch, HoloLens, or Google Glass, for example). In his groundbreaking book Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things, he claims that the smartphone “is a dead end as the human-computer interface.” And in his Guardian interview, he explains how “we’re seeing a cultural yearning … to solve this issue about how most of our attention is being soaked up by screens. So what I’m interested in is in taking old infrastructure, things like locks or thermostats, connecting them and making them simpler to use.”

This means infusing items with enchanting qualities that add a dose of magic to our daily lives. Imagine the worlds of Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter, or King Arthur—realms in which magic can be found in everyday objects, and in which the enchanted is the norm. “The discussion we have is focused on the intersection between tropes of magic and how that could be mapped into service,” Rose says. This is quite literal: he not only takes inspiration from fantasy, fairy tales and science fiction, but also works alongside a magician, claiming they’re “very good at understanding emotional arcs.” This is a vision for the IoT that involves capturing a elemental sense of wonder, creating items that respond to “human drives with emotional engagement and élan” (as he explained in The New York Times).

Unlimited Potential

Rose is also careful to outline how a connected future has consequences for all product categories. In fact, consumer products will also evolve into services catering to an intuitive user experience. “One of the inevitabilities of the IoT also will bring is not only changing business models but a fusion of capabilities,” he explains. “Lots of interesting new partnerships will be spawned by these old school product companies.”

Put another way, every industry will be affected by this transformation. As we stop staring at screens and start interacting with the Internet-powered objects around us, there’s virtually unlimited potential for collaboration, innovation, design, and branding. And with David Rose as your guide, the IoT can become much more than a whiff of fantasy, but the roadmap for navigating the end of one era and finding success at the dawn of another.

In his mind-opening talks, Rose is showing companies how to get on board with the next big thing in business: The Internet of Things. To book David Rose as a keynote speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

Up Next

science | July 27, 2015