My rule of thumb in the introduction of any new major technology-based transformation has always been that when people say that 'this is the year of (fill in the blank)', then it definitely is not. As 2015 comes to a close, there are countless predictions, many well founded and others somewhat speculative, about what the next year will bring. However, for the most part, technological innovation doesn't follow annual calendar cycles.
For the past few years, connected cars have been a big deal at the annual CES show in Las Vegas and it looks like it could be the tip of the iceberg. Two years ago, General Motors made a big deal at the show with its in-car networking, apps in the dash and commerce on the go. Last year, the theme continued, with even more car connectivity being shown by different automakers.
While predictions around The Internet of Things for 2016 come fast and furious, one of the most accurate predictors is just around the corner. It comes in the form of the annual CES International, the mother of all shows held in Las Vegas each January. Based on the numerous invites I've been receiving, this show will again provide a picture of what consumers will be presented with sometime within the next year or so.
If nothing else, The Internet of Things involves plenty of gadgetry. Aside from currently available connected objects, such as smart thermostats, watches and fitness trackers, there are some more futuristic gadgets around the corner. And timed with the arrival of a new year comes a ranking of future gadgetry by GI Gadgets, which tabulated 200 million points of interactive social data to see what's hot and what's viewed negatively.
One of the more fascinating aspects of The Internet of Things is the unlimited potential for transformational innovation. From a consumer perspective, IoT conversations tend to focus on personal devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, or smart home gadgets, like thermostats and TVs. While all of those are moving to mass adoption, they are the relatively early iterations of Internet-connected objects.
For most of the current year, we have dealt with the continuing evolution of The Internet of Things, with all of its marketing and consumer ramifications. For the future, much of what we focused on was research from various and leading research sources. Some of the studies we wrote about here were massive in scope, often encompassing large, worldwide samples.
The Internet of Things will open an entirely new dimension of consumer targeting. This matters a lot, since marketers who rely only on demographics to reach consumers risk missing more than 70% of mobile shoppers, according to a recent study by Google. And pretty much anyone with a mobile phone is a potential shopper, no matter where they are or what time it is.
The consumer-related gadgetry of The Internet of Things continues to tilt toward the practical. In yet another study looking at what smart objects consumers either own or plan to purchase, things that make their homes work better or more efficiently are front and center. While the majority of smartphone owners already have interacted with home electronic IoT devices, the most common item owned is the smart smoke detector, according to the Adobe Digital Index.
Like any technological tsunami, The Internet of Things requires walking before running. And during that walking, some bumps along the way can be expected. One such bump just got highlighted by a study conducted by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, where preliminary findings show that driverless cars get into more accidents than those piloted by humans.
Wearable devices are going to get a lot smarter and there are going to be many more of them coming. There will be 111 million wearables shipped next year, an increase from the 80 million that hit the market this year, according to a new global study. But the big news is the evolution of the actual wearables as they become more standalone devices without the smartphone connection required today.