As simple as it sounds, much of the activity within The Internet of Things in homes just involves turning things on and off. The idea of smart appliances often means turning something on to coincide with consumer activity. For example, the heat being turned just before a consumer returns home, a coffee maker turned on remotely when a person awakes in the morning or a light being turned on or off when a person enters or leaves a room are obvious examples.
Along with the massive growth of The Internet of Things can be some unintended consequences. For example, when a smart car or a smart appliance is somehow compromised, that was never the intent of the maker of the product. Security and privacy will be major IoT factors well into the foreseeable future and now research and advisory firm Gartner has come up with some of what they predict is coming.
There's still a great distance between the somewhat smart car of today and the driverless car of the future. But the relationship between people and their cars is on a path of evolution as vehicle technology melds more into The Internet of Things. Over the next decade, the auto industry will be faced with empowered consumers, changing mobility models and a transforming ecosystems, according to a new global study.
The battle of the wrist wearables is on. There actually are two battles going on: will the smartwatch or the fitness wearable win out and, secondly, what will cause consumers to even consider a wearable? The functional lines between smartwatches and fitness trackers have been converging for some time, with each adding features from the category of the other.
While there are numerous smart home gadgets available or coming to market, the idea of a totally smart home has yet to be realized at scale. Nest thermostats have been selling for some time, smart locks have been on the market for years and Samsung recently introduced their version of a smart refrigerator. The often-stated issue, of course, is how to get all of the things of The Internet of Things to work together.
The Internet of Things is going to make more things automatic. It's not the actual things that will become automatic, but rather that connected things will automate more things for consumers. There were many examples of this at CES in Las Vegas last week. None were necessarily earthshaking by themselves, but taken together, highlight one of the major early IoT waves.
One of the key insights from CES this year is that the pieces of The Internet of Things are starting to be made to work with each other. At the last two CES annual events, smart objects tended to operate in more of a standalone approach. A smart lightbulb could be controlled by the app related to that bulb or a smart lock could lock or unlock a door via that company's smartphone app.
Before a so-called smart product takes off, it first has to get noticed. At CES this week, with thousands of companies exhibiting and some 20,000 new products introduced, in a show scattered throughout all the major venues in Las Vegas, getting noticed is somewhat of a challenge. But getting noticed by a big display at a major show isn't the only way to gain attention.
Some of the innovations unveiled at CES this year show that The Internet of Things is causing some of the lines to blur. In numerous cases, the idea of one device doing one thing is falling by the wayside. Or maybe more accurately, it's that a device designed to do one thing is now branching out into other areas. With so many connections and so many capabilities that can be baked into products and services, it's only natural that an entity can expand its products so that they begin to overlap someone else's.
It appears the tremendous growth of The Internet of Things is driving the consumer technology industry to record-setting growth. Consumer technology retail revenue is slated to hit $287 billion this year, according to new figures from the Consumer Technology Association, which released the figures on the eve of CES International, which the CTA runs each year in Las Vegas.