It’s been a bit of time since my last post, but I had to post this as I don’t understand why the Internet of Things (IoT) is called the “Internet of Things”. I recently bought some DIY home automation gadgets with a hub, and installed them. But, wouldn’t this be a “Cloud of Things”… or let’s call it my own personal “Gadget Cloud”. Nevertheless, since IoT is such a hot topic today, large companies are partaking in the action: GE with Wink, Samsung with SmartThings, etc.
So, what is the benefit? Is it just a fad, a new shiny toy that won’t last?
I’ll start with the benefit. Outside of the energy efficiency someone might get from a Nest, some might say, “Why not just get up and flip the light switch, like you do today?” My response – it’s convenience. Why buy an Audi versus a Hyundai? It’s not reliability, now is it? Plus, when you lock yourself out of your house, or forget to set your security alarm, you can now do this conveniently too.
So, is it just a fad? Is it just a new shiny toy that will soon be forgotten? Short answer, no. Less short answer, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean consumers will embrace the idea of having their lights, doors, garage doors, security alarms, etc. controlled by a device which communicates with the cloud. Why? Well, ask people on the street if they know what “The Cloud” is. You might get some blanks stares. Herein lies an issue. Techies may love the ability to automate and wealthy folks may pay lots of dollars for companies to install high-end systems (like Control4 or SmartHome), but the average consumer, who doesn’t “get it” probably won’t “get it” (meaning they won’t buy the products).
IoT could be a real game-changer in making products “smarter”, eventually enabling them to leverage artificial intelligence (that excites me, although I know it’s a bit farther down the road). I see this step as linking the online world with the real world. Imagine what you’ll be able to control from your wrist in 5 years… I would imagine lights, alarms, door locks, etc., but BMW senior executive Elmar Frickenstein, imagines even more. At a recent consumer electronics show, Frickenstein was invited on stage to speak about BMW’s collaboration with Samsung. He said, “BMW, pick me up” and showed a video of a car (autonomous, of course) driving to where he was standing to pick him up. Although not a real-time live demo, it was still fascinating, and it helped show where the future of “smart” could take us. Again, it’s not just a fad…
So, if awareness can be emphasized, security can be maintained and eventually heightened, and consumers understand the convenience, I’m sure that more folks will buy these gadgets, install them, and join me in living a life filled with more comfort!