CES was full of hi-tech, useless gadgets which make use of excellent technology around connectivity, sensors and voice recognition, but actually serve very little purpose. People don’t need them, they want them, and mainly just because they don’t want to be left out.
In most cases, these kinds of tools are aimed at tech savvy people, a group which many include themselves in today, who just have to own a connected toaster for instance. Even though they can probably buy a lifetime supply of bread at the same cost.
Some significant others get angry with partners for spending $100 on a motion detection garbage bin, but at this year’s CES, they could upgrade to voice-activated bin. Much better, right?
Some people keep saying that the IoT is dead, because part of its maturity is its segmentation. It’s dividing and becoming multiple markets which make sense to speak about together, but not to group together.
There’s nothing really connected between smart factories and home automation, or between smart city infrastructure and connected medical devices. The fact that they are all connected does not group them into a single market. People connect their phones and PCs, but are they being treated as IoT devices?
Then there’s the issue of quality. Often IoT devices and their software and apps are rushed to market in order to keep up with this competitive surge of nonsense products. But focusing solely on time to market means quality is often compromised, which causes bugs and leaves the consumer, with further disillusion in the market.
IoT is moving in many different directions, but here’s what we are likely to see from it in the rest of 2017, and what’s needed for companies to utilise this new technology correctly to deliver value.
No place like home
Connected home gadgets will keep getting most of the focus; they are cool, innovative and fun. Their true value is actually quite easy to demonstrate and understand in the connected home, and the value varies from device to device. (Unless when talking about connected hairbrushes for example, which probably aren’t integral to our future generations).
Security is likely to be the key area where most growth is seen when it comes to both the connected home, as well as the connected car.
Security and safety sensors such as flood detection and motion detection combined with connected security cameras are a great combination for excellent price-value. However, security isn’t something businesses can take chances with. Security-related IoT devices need to not only be pre-tested, but tested across a range of real user conditions.
New “things” are being connected all the time – even people’s bodies. The value for medical devices is extremely clear and in many cases is actually life changing. It might take a bit more time simply because the market is under lots of regulations, but connected glucose pumps, heartbeat monitors and alike have true value and mature technology behind it.
>See also: 4 practices in IoT software development
The winning product At CES in January was a connected breast pump – these are the kind of products we need to be seeing more of, products that meet an existing need and pain. We are likely to see connected medical devices taking over previous-generation products in their domain, like the breast pump, as a continuing trend in 2017 and beyond.
Let’s talk about it
Voice activated technology is here and here to stay, but we haven’t quite found the value yet. Many have a Google Home or Amazon Echo, both which understand us pretty well.
There are limitations – at this point they’re not able to connect to enough devices in the home to truly maximise their full potential. In fact, at the moment, there are mainly two use cases, an easy to use music player and a great kitchen timer. (You will never have such excitement from a kitchen timer, although admittedly it may not be worth $99).
Industry is not far off. In 2017 there will be more and more enterprises and service providers such banks, insurance, retailers, and not OS vendors, integrating with those great devices to give their customers the value they really need.
This is absolutely going to progress in 2017, but if businesses are trying to utilise this technology in stores where customers can complain straight away, it needs to be perfect before coming to market.
Quality vs purpose
One last thing to remember; quality. Mass market value is based on simplicity and quality. These days, consumers won’t stand for poor quality of any product. Connected home locks, which are easy to hack, are, at this point, nothing less than scary to own.
Issues around quality, like with the mentions smart locks, often can be market killers. Families will not link the lives of their children with a smart lock that can be hacked. False alarms from my connected flood detector are just the same.
Vendors that want to play in this domain need to start thinking seriously about quality assurance and understand that unlike with your typical free apps, their customers will not accept poor-quality products in real life.
The IoT might not be dead, but it’s reevaluating its purpose. The whole industry needs to take a step back and think about how they can make the most out of IoT technology, to create products that truly serve a purpose and are thoroughly tested and robust before they come to market.
Sourced by Yoram Mizrachi, CTO, Perfecto