Your Egg Carton is Trying to Tell You Something: The Future of Things

This week, we told you about the tech malaise that Millennials are experiencing. Though they want the latest and greatest new devices, even those on their wishlists aren’t managing to impress them the way that technology used to. So what will be the tech that manages to break the spell and wake up their interest the way that their first smartphone was able to? For years tech insiders have been talking about the Internet of Things: a world where everyday objects can communicate with us, and each other, through the internet, creating a connected space where our belongings will be smarter, more efficient, and make our lives easier. Imagine your alarm clock telling your coffee pot to turn on, or your car texting you when it needs an oil change. Now, after years of being a concept that most had never heard of, and couldn’t imagine coming true if they did, the Internet of Things is becoming a reality. Previously static and inert household items are becoming fixed with sensors and turned into intelligent things that can let their owners know when they are empty, low, need attention, or adjust automatically according to commands and their ambient environment. Business Insider predicts that 9 billion devices will be connected by 2018. If the Internet of Things (or IoT) pans out, it could not only be the next movement to shake up Millennial’s malaise and capture their attention (and wallets) it could also change the way that the next generation—Plurals—views the world around them.

So how close are we to an IoT world? Here are three current projects that are making smart devices a part of our lives right now, and are at the forefront of growing the IoT from a niche concept to a mainstream reality: 

1. Quirky & GE’s Smart Devices 
Some major brands are starting to prepare for the Internet…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I love reality TV shows. It's always fun to watch average people make themselves look foolish just for a shot at fame.”

—Female, 17, CA

“Bored kids” and “desperate parents” are the most likely to love their smart speakers. Nine out of ten children who own one say they enjoy their device, and 57% of all smart speaker owners with children admit entertaining their children was one of the reasons they opted for the purchase. Ypulse found 13-34-year-olds consider Amazon Alexa one of the “coolest tech products” so it’s no surprise smart speaker owners love their devices: 65% “would not want to go back to their lives before getting one,” 42% consider it an everyday “essential,” and over half of parents plan to purchase another. (Fast Company)

Plastic surgery is reportedly having a moment with Millennial men. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, of the over one-third of men who are “extremely likely” to consider cosmetic procedures, 58% are 25-34-years-old and 34% are 18-24-years-old. Some reasons they’re willing to go under the knife (or needle)? To boost their self-confidence, to appear less tired or stressed, and to stay competitive in their careers. Experts say social media and the self-care trend is making men more appearance-conscious. (Bloomberg)

Reading Rainbow is back and it’s all grown-up, just like its fans. The well-loved show's host, LeVar Burton, is picking up a book and laying down a podcast for his Millennial fans. He’ll be reading selected works of fiction and breaking down the themes just like in the old days, but he’s also adding a little something extra: his personal take on the tale. The only thing missing from the original PBS Kid’s show? The coveted chance to get on screen and read a review from your favorite story.

(Huffington Post)

Gen Z is thinking finances-first when making college decisions. Almost 80% consider the cost of an institution in their decision of where to attend, which makes sense considering over one in three are planning to pay for part or all their expenses. Avoiding the student loan debt that most Millennials know all too well is a key component of their finance-savvy thinking: 69% of teens are concerned about taking on loans, and the number of teens who plan to borrow has dropped 10% since 2016. (CSF)

Leisure and hospitality are the “hottest” jobs for teens this summer. A full 41% of teens went into leisure and hospitality last year, nearly double those that landed a wholesale and retail gig. Education and health services rounded out the top three, with all other industries claiming 5% or less of the summer teen workforce. When Ypulse asked teens where they’re planning to work this summer, restaurants and fast food jobs combined would land the top spot on the list. (Markets Insider)

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—Female, 21, CA

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