Chapter 11. Ecosystems

SMARTPHONES NOW SERVE as the front door for many devices. Standards like Bluetooth used in tandem with development frameworks like HomeKit enable a diverse range of products in the smart home. IPV6 integration offers a network infrastructure that will scale to the trillions of anticipated IoT products. These are all examples of ecosystems, interconnected networks of resources. New products may draw from existing platforms or services, or have to fit in with them, despite the fact that these infrastructures may be competing with each other.

Multimodal devices will connect and blend different layers of ecosystems in new ways. They should, because these devices will become a part of our daily activities while taking advantage of devices that people already have and use. By understanding the facets of ecosystems that are brought together, designers can create more seamless multimodal experiences and take full advantage of the contextual resources available.

In your grade-school ecology class, you might have followed the journey of a raindrop through clouds, groundwater, river, reservoir, and into your drinking glass. In the same way, the handful of bits that appear on a screen or that play through a speaker went through quite a journey to get to you. Stored somewhere on a server, those bits traveled through miles of cable, maybe bounced through the atmosphere between a few satellites or cell towers and through to your antenna, and then zipped around the device ...

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