Reframing Value: Duality and the Internet of Things

Becoming Through Plurality

When thinking about new value, we must first accept a period of questioning everything and reframing our understanding of what is now of value to people first, and to organizations second. In this context, 'now' means an emerging reality in which individuals are both connected and existent in each other's life, being at the same time physically linked and virtually present. Every time I post pictures of my food or my bread on Facebook, I am reminded of this, as I sense at all times the virtual presence of all my Facebook contacts. I have a duality of being, as I am present in people's lives and they are in mine, without a physical proximity in flesh, but with proximity of intent and purpose. What I do seems to matter to 'them' and what 'they' do matters to me. It matters at least enough that I keep an eye on their posts on my Facebook feed. The 'me' on Facebook is constantly broadcasting to others, even when I am asleep. This is a duality of being, a state in which both my physical presence and my virtual avatar presence on various forms of social media merge, forming a new entity in which Duality is the whole. This duality is a continuum of becoming through the plurality of others.

The dilemma of Duality is inherent in the condition of being human. This is the simultaneous truth of life in both a physical body and an intangible mind. This condition carries with it a challenge to meet the needs of the body, while satisfying the needs of the mind. This is what our actions on Facebook prove, that we are concerned with both. However, the Internet of Things introduces a duality to non-sentient physical entities, by giving physical objects a persistent virtual presence.

In the Internet of Things, every Enabled Person, Place and Object has more than a physical presence; they have a communication presence. This communication presence is the ability of a Person, Object or Space to inform each other through data transfer.

The result of everything connected to everything else that makes sense, is a Link-Enabled ecology, a complex ecosystem of interdependent and networked organic elements. The ecosystem is the very relationship between organisms and their environment, a community of ecological parts functioning as a unit, determined by and dependent upon its members.

Navigation in a Link-Enabled ecology will be the meaningful navigation of physical and virtual data transfers, forming and informing interactions of everyday life, where people live and work in virtual settings such as Facebook, YouTube, blogs, eBay and video games. The borders between virtual and physical space blur further, as smart phones have extended online environments into more and more physical settings.

Duality of objects

Figure 4.1 Duality of objects

When objects and spaces gain the capability to communicate digitally with our devices through Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth, iBeacon, etc., elements of the physical world will require a sensory representation in virtual space. Thus, each element of the Internet of Things will have a dual social role.

They will be something—a street car, a lamp post, a mail box, a park bench—while at the same time they will mean something—a connection to granularly filtered knowledge about the context of the object itself, tailored for individual interests and needs. The rules that guide the representation of any object or space (physical or virtual) should aim to express this social role.

By examining the relationships of objects, people and spaces under the concept of Duality, we expand our understanding of the emerging potential of Link-Enabled ecologies as behavior platforms, and we gain a better understanding of the possible value that can be created for the monetization of these platforms (Figure 4.1).

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