Every industry will be affected by the Internet of Things (IoT) as it shifts into high gear, bringing improvements to our homes, offices, cities, and everywhere in between. This innovation is bringing specialized aspects in which the IoT supports and develops new benefits for specific audiences. One of these audiences is young families, creating new learning and development opportunities for children.
IoT’s versatility as an awareness tool
IoT has two inherent functional aspects. The first is that IoT improves and encourages universal awareness, developing always-accessible, always-connected worlds for everyone, whether it’s at home, on a farm, in a factory, or even while traveling. This connectivity in turn creates more sensors than ever before to base health, learning, and other vital information on children during the most critical moments in their lives.
For example, many startups like Mimo are already seeking to develop IoT technology in conjunction with wearables to bring better vital monitoring technology to children. Measuring everything from a child’s heart rate to their sleeping patterns can, over time, reveal potential illnesses and ailments through noticeable differences in these activities. Furthermore, it brings new data that doctors and other health professionals can use when understanding the developmental and long-term health of a family’s children. This very technology then scales to an entire baby’s home experience, gathering new data sources and sensors as they go about their early lives.
Bringing new meaning to interactivity
IoT’s second inherent functional aspect is its ability to stage new realms and layers of interactivity in ways never before realized. IoT allows us to create spaces just about anywhere that can serve multipurpose functions, especially with respect to learning, development, and entertainment. Taking a room and powering it with always-connected, always-interactive devices allows it to curate experiences for those who inhabit it for that particular purpose. This can scale from giving an individual user a particular, curated set of information, to even change a room’s purpose depending on the time of day and current visitor demographics.
With respect to children, what this creates is an always-interactive, always-engaging space that facilitates more powerful learning and development opportunities than ever. A playroom no longer needs to depend on solely on television, toys, or other items to facilitate very simplistic and straightforward learning paths. With IoT, toys can be built with multiple learning types, designed to suit a child whose profile suggests an interest in certain topics, and, more broadly, offer more information and learning sources than an analog experience can. Products like Nymi help children interact with their world personally, the toys and items in the room identifying you as a unique person with . What this creates is a new set of curated experiences that can be designed around an entire preschool, home, or even public park, all intended to create natural, incidental learning experiences that children are more likely to enjoy and grow from.
A new generation of health and learning tools
Children could gain enormous new opportunities as the IoT continues to evolve--this is only the beginning of a long and prosperous journey. Depending on the costs and connectivity requirements, these types of projects could scale from simply improving a way to monitor a young child’s health to creating new, rich learning experiences beyond a traditional classroom environment. Only time will tell the paths that will follow from these potential innovations.