3 July 2017 | Martin Read
I suspect one thing we can all pretty much agree on is that the sheer volume of information technology has now surpassed the human ability keep up with and create ways to best deploy it.
What's more, our data-addicted world is - should ThinkFM speakers be believed - about to see another spike as both build cost and power consumption requirements of sensors fall through the floor, heralding a new and seriously hyper-connected chapter in the story of the workplace.
We'll see ever more talk about the gap between what occupiers and building owners understand about the data they can access and what they can practically action as a result of it.
Three impediments exist. First, who legitimately owns and can thus access all of this data? Second, who has the time necessary to mine the data for meaningful, actionable information? But third, and perhaps a less frequently discussed issue, is end-users' natural concerns that our 'internet of things' world presages a new 'Big Brother' age.
It's one thing to imbue a vending machine with an ability to automatically manage its own replenishment, quite another for a sensor in your ID badge to report back on your exact choice of preferred beverage, the time when you consumed it and the likely impact of said beverage on your productivity and well-being. If you think the above is pure fantasy, read our stories this month on behavioural analytics and the dramatic reduction in costs associated with setting up networks capable of doing exactly what I've just described.
So, we're inevitably headed toward this machine-learnt, artificially intelligent future. Or are we? Would you allow sensors with you and your partner in the bedroom, sharing data to a network on potential atmospheric enhancements based on heart rate monitors, temperature detectors and the like? Now imagine the extraordinarily specific nature of what can be recorded about your end-users' everyday workplace activities. How comfortable are we about all this?
The way in which the Internet of Things shapes our future will depend as much on our natural human willingness to accept the increasingly intimate personal performance details it uncovers as it will our ability to store and analyse the vast amounts of data generated.
Martin Read is editor of FM World