When I first wrote about things of the internet it was a deliberate inversion of the Internet of Things.
For the uninitiated, the Internet of Things is the connection of everyday physical objects through the internet (and local networks), enabling them to send and receive data.
The internet of things are are just that, things. Connected objects. They offer some value as connected objects but, most importantly, they offer unlimited potential as tools connected to a network — both locally (for example, in a household) or globally (as part of extended communities and global networks).
In the work that I’ve been doing recently with FutureGov I’ve updated my original list of things of the internet to include ‘connected’.
This is more than just connected things, it’s about connected people. By connected we mean that internet era services connect people, data, and experiences.
I think this is important and recognises the Internet of Things, but, as a set of values, things of the internet is more about the potential of connection.
Experiences should become increasingly connected as the result of services built around internet connectivity, but there’s a much bigger picture and opportunity. With many people, especially older people, in society feeling increasingly lonely and isolated, services enabled by the internet can help build social cohesion and create social value.
The ability to reimagine our future products and services means thinking beyond our ability to sell internet connected fridges, or wifi enabled lightbulbs.
Here’s an example of why this matters: How Tower Hamlets council is tackling loneliness. The question is whether digital services and technology can start to support existing efforts to tackle loneliness in our local communities?