Internet of things

After attending the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES early this month, one thing is clear:  Though the potential of the Internet of Things (ioT) is clear, there seems to still be a lot of issues in increasing adoption, appealing to the masses, monetizing it and making it safe.

One perspective which was discussed is that, it’s much easier to make a connected car than a connected home since a car is self-contained, and a house contains devices from different manufacturers, operating systems and to make matters even worse, if already a connected home, chances are it’s running in distinct platforms (i.e. Zigbee, Bluetooth, Wifi, and so on).

The Cloud-connected car drives ioT monetization – TechCrunch

When talking about wearables, the largest opportunity, both revenue-wise and with a low-barrier of adoption is elderly care.

Wearables for elderly care

As mentioned in this article, 14% of the world is over 65 years of age.  In an aging population, smart devices which can track from heart rate, blood sugar levels, to location, movement and changes in regular behavior, can be life savers.  This use case is clearly understood by the General population and easier to adopt since the perceived benefits are strong and clear.

As Lee Gruenfeld mentioned during an ioT panel at CES, any ioT device developed needs to ensure consumers are getting value out of the technology.  It’s not unusual for many devices being returned in perfectly working condition, usually due to consumers’ lack of understanding of how they’re used.  Hence the question:

What’s the experience which will drive adoption?

Wearables for elder care is an easy one to point out their benefits.  Greater challenge is for companies playing in the Smart Home space. Integrating home intelligence in a smart way is key, not just single products, with clear use-cases:  What is the customer experience they’re looking to deliver?  What needs do they solve?  When you talk about a smart thermostat which reduces your monthly electricity bill, you’re offering something tangible.  What other services should be offered with a smart thermostat to further enhance that experience?  As Ohad Zeira suggested during CES, the home is an emotional space.  Current experiences lack emotional engagement.  Winners in the Smart Home space will be companies who will deliver:

  1. Clear use-cases
  2. Seamless experiences
  3. Integrated solutions

smart_syncA great example of of this, is the custom smart home for a wounded veteran, with blinds that open with the touch of an iPad.

The future of ioT especially as it relates to Smart Homes, doesn’t have to be bleak, and

As the cost of these products continues to come down, more people will undoubtedly buy them. But so far, the internet of things has failed to capture the imagination of the vast majority of people. Putting a microchip in something and expecting people to buy it is not going to work: companies will have to come up with more compelling reasons for people to bring their homes online. – The Telegraph, Jan 17, 2016

I see it as an opportunity.  We just have to put aside the grandiose aspect of the internet of things and focus on delivering amazing, beautiful, fun, and easy consumer experiences.  Wearables for the elderly is clearly the largest opportunity in this segment.  Smart Home still has ways to go and key stakeholders need to work together to make their systems ‘integrate-able’.  Once that happens, delivering seamless experiences will drive this market to the projected $22.4 Bi in sales, sooner than we think!