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Demographics And “The Internet Of Things”

Business, China, Company Strategy, Economics, Europe, Sustainability, Technology, US
By John Richardson on 06-Aug-2014

Internet_of_ThingsA DECADE from now, you might wake up in the morning and:

  • Step on scales that quickly shoot data to a service provider that helps you decide how long and hard to exercise on the treadmill that day.
  • Brush your teeth with a toothbrush that sends data to a local dentist. This will give early warning about any cavities that might be developing – and might even tell you the teeth that you have missed whilst brushing.
  • Prepare breakfast from a well-stocked fridge that has stayed well-stocked because it is also linked to this “internet of things”. Thus, when the probiotic yoghurt was running low, a message was sent to the local supermarket which then delivered the yoghurt.

But this “internet of things” needs to be adapted to suit what threatens global economic prosperity – ageing populations in the West and in China. This  applies to all service and manufacturing industries if we are to compensate fully for the changes in the quantities and nature of growth resulting from demographics.

Thus, the service provider would need to increasingly recommend the type of exercise programmes suitable for the over-55s, using the latest medical knowledge.

Toothbrushes, and how their data are processed, may also be have to be similarly adapted to take into account how looking after our teeth changes as we get older.

And, without wanting to sound “Big Brotherish”, the fridge might have to be programmed to gently hint, “Go easy on the chocolate cake and beer, please”.

Far-fetched? No. Who would have thought, only a decade ago, that many of us would be carrying around smartphones that can do just about everything except boil the kettle and make the toast? But as the “internet of things” develops, your smartphone might soon be able to boil the kettle and switch on the toaster – if this isn’t happening already.

Fascinating stuff. This is just one area of innovation that chemicals companies can focus on in order to develop a whole new range of goods and services to suit changing demographics.