Manthan is very excited to interview Dean Johnson, an accomplished design leader, author, TEDx speaker, and BBC tech pundit.

As Head of Innovation at Brandwidth, Dean Johnson is constantly at the forefront of new ways to bring consumers, businesses and brands together in an innovative and engaging manner.

Named this year as the #6 Top IoT influencer in the world, Dean shares his views on the industry that’s connecting the world. 

MANTHAN: You mentioned your favourite IoT product during our last round-up interview. Can you tell us a wee bit more and when that product is expected to hit the market?

DEAN: Almost… I can’t name names just yet but it’s a set of wireless earbuds offering live language translation. Slated for launch in 2017 and genuinely exciting for the fledgling ‘hearables’ platform.

MANTHAN: Do you agree that businesses and the B2B companies seem to be adapting IoT faster than consumers? What do you think is driving this trend?

DEAN: IoT is a phrase we like to use within the industry to describe an ideal scenario where everything is connected seamlessly across all networks, all the time. In reality we know this digital nirvana hasn’t been reached but it’s much more familiar within business simply because it’s IT with nobs on.
Most consumers still think of IoT (if at all) as gadgets + wifi and cellular connection. The conversation is stronger and louder within enterprise circles as no business can survive without it but it’s being amplified for consumers with connected devices and services now an established way of life.

“Don’t just add ‘smart’ to everything. If it doesn’t deliver or it shouldn’t exist, then it’s still ‘dumb’.”

MANTHAN: What key change (policy, trend or technology) do you feel needs to happen for IoT to be adopted faster?

DEAN: Genuine connectivity. It’s all very well businesses talking about ‘always on’ and ‘the cloud’ but it all falls over when we lose wifi or mobile signal. There’s nothing more irritating than interrupting a service we expect to remain continuous. When it works, we’re happy. When it doesn’t, the future is crap. Cynical? Not really, I’m just approaching this from a consumer’s perspective.

MANTHAN: What is the one piece of advice you would give companies looking to develop IoT products?

DEAN: Don’t just add ‘smart’ to everything. If it doesn’t deliver or it shouldn’t exist, then it’s still ‘dumb’.

“Most consumers still think of IoT as gadgets + wifi and cellular connection.”

MANTHAN: Outside of data security, what potential risks do you perceive in a connected world?

DEAN: Ultimate reliance. We’re quick to drop our guards and believe the brave new connected world will act as a safety net. AI has all the answers via our connected devices + expanding virtual networks but we’re in danger of losing the art of investigation. We tend to take results on face value rather than push a little harder or dig a little deeper.

MANTHAN: Which industry do you think will be impacted the most by widespread consumer IoT adoption?

DEAN: We’re already witnessing it – automotive. The closer we get to genuine autonomous vehicles, the faster the pace of connectivity inside the car, fed by those outside. Our familiar surroundings will be transformed into an office, entertainment centre or relaxation booth on wheels.

MANTHAN: Could you give us an example of how big data and advanced analytics, will be key industry drivers for IoT?

DEAN: Without reliable (and relevant) data our smart devices really aren’t that smart. The essential information lies in our personal profiles and the more our IoT networks know about us – from personal preference, to activity monitoring, physical and mental condition, the more our experiences can be tailored.
The flip side will always be about security and willingness to share beyond critical services but this will become less of a concern for each passing generation – unless we really screw things up!