We are currently experiencing a shift from the Information Age to the Intelligence Age which will be characterized by the autonomous communication between intelligent devices that are sensitive to the presence of a person and responds by performing a specific task that enhances that person’s lifestyle.  The shift is driven by the consumer’s desire for efficiency, particularly in connection with everyday tasks that can be easily automated. And the costs associated with connected devices are no longer prohibitive, so companies of all sizes are able to bring products to market.

Consumer Desire

Consumers are infatuated with technology that helps with everyday tasks by using connectivity and machine learning to track and analyze behavior.  They are willing to have products track their location, conversations, steps, eating, spending, and other habits because the product creates a seamless experience that couldn’t otherwise be achieved. Google Now for example incorporates data from a user’s calendar, web searches and location to present you with relevant information and suggestions throughout the day. Google Now alerts the consumer of weather, traffic and restaurants nearby and delivers location based reminders to the consumer's phone. Google is leveraging habits to provide a personal assistant that leverages data to make a consumer's life more efficient.

Cost of Innovation

Five years ago, it was extremely expensive to manufacture the necessary parts for the connected devices that exist today.  However, the rise of smartphones and tablets that use similar components caused an increase in the production of components, which led to a rise in the number of manufacturers and an array of price points for varying specifications or quality of product.  This made it feasible for companies to purchase radios, sensors, cameras and other materials at a reasonable price.  Once cost was no longer prohibitive, innovation began, and today, even the smallest startups can afford, with the help of online crowdfunding in many cases, to build an idea. Planet Labs is leveraging access to these components to create the next generation of earth-imaging satellites at a fraction of the cost and time it takes to build traditional satellites. By using basic smartphone components, Planet Labs has launched 71 satellites into orbit in the last 16 months. These satellites produce affordable, real-time images that can be used by the government and agricultural industry to evaluate geological occurrences.

Ambient Intelligence

Ambient intelligent devices sense the presence, movement and behavior of a consumer, analyze that data in order to learn about the consumer, and then make an intelligent decision to perform a task based on the data. For example, Nest Thermostat learns about a consumer’s schedule and uses that information to automate climate control.  It tracks a consumer’s presence and heating and cooling usage to determine the best temperature for a person’s home at different times of day which ultimately lowers energy bills. Several new companies like ZuliIotas and Spire will be entering the market over the next 6 months that focus on leverage data to enable their products to make intelligent decisions based on your habits. Zuli is developing a recommendation engine based on an individual's presence in a specific room which will allow them to adjust the rooms temperature, lighting and music for each person in the home.  

Market Opportunity

As you move forward through your everyday life, be conscious of moments in which your repetitive actions have limited or no tangible effect on your environment. These moments are examples of where, at some point in the near future, the Intelligence Age will deliver enhanced experiences that turn the mundane into remarkable.  These moments are opportunities to develop new products and services that will create the next economic boom in America and worldwide. The companies that capitalize on these opportunities will be the first publicly traded companies to be valued at a trillion dollars by the market.

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