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Wearable Technology & The ‘Smart Home’ Could Re-Shape The Future Of Online Dating

eHarmony Imperial College

Wearable technology and the “smart home” could influence the online dating experience in years to come, according to a recent report by eHarmony and Imperial College London.

Teaming up with eHarmony’s relationship experts, MSc Management students at Imperial College London looked at what role the Internet of Things could have in “our intimate relationships over the next 20 years?”

And according to their findings, online dating could get a lot more personal, with companies potentially taking data from wearable technology and the “smart home” to better distinguish who we are and who our best online matches are.

As the report explains: “Just as the Internet revolutionised the way people meet and interact with each other decades ago, further advances in technology will bring ever-greater changes in how we meet potential partners.

“For the 2016 report, we wanted to dive further into what ‘everyday’ smart technology is on the horizon, what data these new devices will provide, and how this will help singles in their pursuit of love.

“The data provided by smart technology will crucially help to remove the gap between who you think you are, and who you actually are, leading to far more rewarding romantic choices.

“Specifically, we’ve tried to understand how such data could be used to provide accurate insight into people’s personality traits, helping us to understand even further what makes them truly compatible.

“It may sound strange at first, but it’s very likely that in a few years the settings on a smart toaster or the food in your smart fridge could tell you more about yourself than many other forms of self-assessment.”

eHarmony Imperial College

The report looks at three main areas of change over the next 20 years that could re-shape the online dating world: wearable technology, the rise of everyday smart technology and the smart home, and the beginning of the smart era, including smart dating.

Firstly, the report looks into how today’s wearable technology could be adapted to improve the online dating experience.

Today, there are an estimated 6.4bn connected devices worldwide according to Gartner, and this is only expected to increase, with predictions saying there could be as many as 20bn connected devices by 2020.

The new report says that technology like smart watches, smart footwear, sleep wearables, smart monitors, smart lenses and smart clothing could all be used to gain further insights into users.

This information could include knowledge of someone’s music tastes, purchases, photos, facial expressions, location, exercise patterns and sleep patterns – all very useful data when it comes to matching singles together.

The possibilities of the “smart home” also featured heavily in the report, the students saying that smart appliances in our homes could be used to collect data that could be used to improve online matching systems.

These smart products are expected to include things like wardrobes, showers, TVs, security systems and even coffee makers, which could provide data about our weight, style, preferred entertainment, how long we are home and even our emotions.

eHarmony Imperial College

Finally, the report also looks at how all this technology could bring about the era of “smart dating”.

With our everyday wearables and appliances predicted to be able to tell companies about some of our most intimate habits – things we may not even know ourselves – the report predicts this data could be used to create even better online matches.

The Imperial College team predicted that by 2026, 40% of online dating services will incorporate smart technology into their platforms, with this figure slated to hit 90% by 2036.

The report also says that in 20 years time, 40% of relationships could begin online.

Speaking more about potential future of online dating, the team said: “The massive range of data recorded by smart appliances will provide a real boon to the way that we understand ourselves and therefore are able to be romantically matched efectively with others.

“Today, we rely on self-assessment, which gets us so far but ultimately has limitations because of natural human bias or second-guessing what a survey question might say about them.

“The use of smart data will alleviate this problem, providing objective and unadulterated information.

“We’ll be able to use this data to make the online dating process much easier in every stage; application and profile building could be instantaneous, matching far more accurate, and the data on the two people’s compatibility could even be used to suggest great locations for shared experiences or mutually-compelling topics of conversation.”

To read the full report please click here.

Emma Woodley

Emma is a reporter at Global Dating Insights. Originally from Surrey, she has studied Communication and Media at Bournemouth University and The University of Central Florida. She enjoys socialising with friends, exploring new places and can often be found with her nose in a book.

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