The smartwatch race is on. Despite the recent introduction of the latest iteration of the Apple Watch, growth of smartwatches at least this year will grow only slightly, according to the latest tracking numbers. The total number of smartwatches hitting the market this year will reach 20 million devices, growth of 4% from a year ago, according to the new International Data Corporation (IDC) worldwide quarterly tracking report.
Voice is a major component of the Internet of Things, but not everyone is yet comfortable with voice commands. Voice commands are now extending well beyond the personal interactions between a person and a smartphone or PC.
While brands and marketers grapple with how to deal with an IoT future, governments officials around the country are tackling various aspects of creating so-called smart cities. And just as brands and agencies work with numerous new meanings of terms like big data and real time, government entities are looking at concepts like M2M (machine-to-machine) and smart everything.
The sensors of the Internet of Things will help marketers determine where people are so they can determine the best time and location for any appropriate messaging. Beacons, which have been being installed in retail stores in earnest during the last year or so, can help brands determine when shoppers are near their products. They then can either interact with those shoppers or decide to passively capture traffic activity and patterns around them.
Rather than being one, cohesive end-to-end phenomenon, the Internet of Things comprises differing silos of major innovation. The end vision, of course, is that all the smart and connected objects will be digitally glued together so that the value chain will be enhanced to provide consumers with new and recurring benefits as they make their way through their day.
The Internet of Things involves a lot of sensors. These sensors are being built into many more things and ultimately may even be implanted in people. That was one of the many ideas included in a presentation of what's next for smart homes at the annual Internet of Things Summit in Boston yesterday. The two-day event aggregates a host of companies creating many of the components, underpinning and gadgetry of the coming connected world.
The number of wearable devices hitting the market increased yet again, but not all wearables are considered equal by consumers. Shipments of wearable devices for the last quarter reached 23 million units, a 26% increase from the same time a year ago, based on the latest worldwide quarterly tracking report by the International Data Corporation (IDC). At least at the moment, basic wearables rule.
Various aspects of the Internet of Things typically are greeted by at least a bit of skepticism in some quarters. One of the most obvious examples is when we write about self-driving cars here, which draws varying degrees of commentary from readers suggesting that self-driving cars are not what the market wants or needs. And now we're on to pizza.
Part of the appeal of the Internet of Things is that it will make some things easier for consumers. Some of that convenience will come in the form of things being bought and even delivered automatically. Printer companies including HP and Brother already sell printers that connect to the network so that ink supply can be monitored remotely. When ink is running low, new cartridges are mailed to printer owners before a particular cartridge runs dry.
As part of the Internet of Things, devices like smartwatches are moving to become standalone items, freed from the tethering to a smartphone. Earlier this week, Samsung launched its Gear S2 Classic 3G smartwatch with Italian telecommunications provider TIM. That smartwatch doesn't need a phone for Internet connectivity. Apple is up next, although the coming iteration of the company's smartwatch may not yet have that complete capability, even though current owners of Apple watches seem to want it.