Having your handbag stolen is a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, I can now say this from personal experience.
Recently I was visiting a beautiful city for an event. It was a lovely warm autumn evening, and we were sitting outside a tapas bar. We were soaking up the atmosphere, and really enjoying a great time. But then everything changed.
One moment of inattention, and I suddenly realised my handbag had gone. My identity card, wallet, mobile, keys and pretty much my whole life, all gone, just like that! Losing a handbag is not just traumatic because of the sense of insecurity and loss, but also because of the time and energy you know you will have to spend cancelling cards, going to the police, and then replacing everything – and all without the mobile phone that was also in the bag!
Almost worst of all for me was that one of my valued personal possessions, a little lucky charm which has been in my family for years, was in my bag, and therefore lost forever.
When a crisis makes you think
This experience got me thinking. I know what I should have done to prevent the theft – wearing or holding my bag more tightly or even not carrying a bag at all. But was there anything I could have done that would have helped once the theft had happened? For example, is there any tracking technology that would have helped to find my handbag and maybe even the thief?
I started doing some research, and it turns out that there are several products that might help. There are a number of suppliers of “smart wallets” that can show you their location or detect unexpected movement. Other options are tokens that run on low-energy Bluetooth, marketed as options to “find my wallet” or “find my keys.” You are probably more likely to need them in your own home, but they could also be used to track stolen items.There are a number of suppliers of “smart wallets” or “find my keys” that can show you their location or detect unexpected movement. But is there any #IoT tech that would stay with the thief to help us catch him? Click To Tweet
I suppose one issue is that thieves might get wise to that. Few thieves will keep hold of a stolen handbag or wallet for long; they just take out the cash and cards, and drop the wallet. You would get your bag or wallet back, but without the valuable contents. At least there is a chance that I would have got my lucky charm back. Perhaps many of us would agree. Cash, after all, is only cash. A favourite handbag is far more important!
But is there anything that would stay with the thief? What about a coin with built-in edge analytics technology? We are perhaps a little way off from central banks agreeing to put that technology into all coins or notes, and they certainly would not take kindly to anyone messing with their currency. But perhaps you could make something that looks like a bitcoin, so it would look valuable enough for the thieves not to throw it away.
What’s in a word?
As I was researching options, an interesting thought occurred to me. All these items are great examples of the IoT in action, but none of the vendors use the term IoT. They talk about “smart” or “connected,” but not “IoT.” I’m not sure if that means that the technology has moved into the mainstream or not. Have we moved beyond the technical jargon, or is the term IoT still not understood by most people? Does this distinction actually matter?
I think it might. For genuine acceptance of technology, people need to understand what it is, and how it is already improving their lives. Perhaps it is time that we all started to label IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) technology more clearly as such. We might all be more willing to accept AI if we understood that it is “only Alexa.” Similarly, we are embracing “connected items,” even if we still remain a little tentative about “the IoT.” It is sometimes good to connect technical jargon, function and value.