Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it’s interesting to look back and see that 2015 was an eventful and interesting year for the Internet of Things (IoT).
Probably the most talked about topic in IoT all year was security, which was brought up in just about every context and in relation to every aspect of IoT this year. Security in the IoT was such a big issue that we even saw the National Science Foundation partner with Intel to tackle work on addressing the issue.
Another interesting development this year was seeing the major mobile platforms roll out their automotive platforms to bring IoT to the car. By integrating their platforms with the automobile, it has further cemented the smartphone as the key personal gateway to the IoT and effectively extended the IoT to your dashboard.
The smart home was yet another area that we saw blown wide open in the IoT space.
Google made news in 2014 when it acquired Nest Labs and integrated the Nest thermostat into its home platform. But 2015 was all about smart home products that were rolled out by Amazon.
Amazon launched two products that will likely secure their place in the smart home for the foreseeable future. The first is its Dash Button, which allows their customers to instantly order a product with the push of a connected button.
The second — and arguably pretty cool product — was the Amazon Echo, a wireless speaker and voice command hub that users can query for real time information. They can also give Echo commands to play digital media or even execute tasks such as setting alarms and creating to-do lists.
What to Wear
The last area from 2015 that I really want to talk about before looking ahead is wearable tech.
More specifically I want to take a look at a single piece of wearable tech that is undoubtedly the cornerstone of all wearables in 2015 and that’s the Apple Watch.
This was without question the most hyped product launch in the IoT space this past year. It was widely anticipated and fairly well received with much fan fair.
Apple not only rolled out the single most talked about device this year but also blew the doors off the luxury market for wearable tech. It launched with a gold version of the watch that retails for upwards of $10,000, giving the product a lofty place in a space wearables had yet to enter with any widespread success.
Good and Getting Better
So there is no doubt that 2015 was an awesome year for the IoT. But as always with technology, the future looks even brighter.
I see some very interesting things on the horizon for 2016.
Ok, to be clear, security isn’t going anywhere. The IoT will continue to face security questions and issues.
As we push forward with connecting an ever-increasing amount of devices our vulnerability to cyber attack increases in lockstep. Taking steps to prevent such vulnerabilities will be key to gaining the trust of consumers and enterprises.
Without the trust in place that fundamental security can provide the adoption of IoT will be dramatically hampered going forward. Security is a cat and mouse game.
Nothing is ever 100 percent secure. But unless the industry shows widespread commitment to address security issues, IoT adoption will fall off significantly.
As long as that security issue is addressed, then look for a slew of new developments.
Augmented Reality will deliver context: Though hype surrounding Google Glass was blown way out of proportion, it doesn’t mean that Augmented Reality is dead. 2016 will likely be the year we start to see AR start to take its rightful place in the IoT ecosystem.
This is assuming that some new company can get past the ugly factor that Google Glass had to contend with. AR has a lot of selling points that make it attractive but its primary feature is enriching our interactions with everyday items by adding context to situations. The key will be creating those context notifications in a way that is easy on the user.
AR has some cool and interesting applications for the consumer market. But the applications in the enterprise space are perhaps even more appealing. Features like allowing workers to get real time updates to meetings or critical data could be massive time savers, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Connected cars and all their data: This year we saw mobile providers integrate their platforms into cars. Next year, we will leap ahead in vehicle connectivity in a number of ways.
Expect a surge of development to blaze a path for all types of new features like larger integration of vehicles in smart cities to help with parking and traffic, as well as report on potholes.
In 2016 we'll also likely see more of the automotive holy grail: autonomous operation, as in we tell the car were we want to go and it takes us there. Ok, so maybe it won’t be a futuristic utopia just yet, but I think we will make significant strides in that general direction.
As awesome as autonomous operation of cars is, something that will have a larger impact overall will be much wider utilization of telematics platforms on consumer vehicles.
And not just telematics for products like usage based insurance, but to help individuals operate their vehicles in a more efficient way, reducing their cost as well as their impact on the environment.
This widespread implementation of telematics platforms will be driven by the increasing ubiquity of connectivity on cars as they roll out of the factory. This connectivity paired with analytic telematics platforms and gamified data will help incentivize the user to perform better behind the wheel.
Services to suit our data: It is no secret that our data is the goldmine driving the Internet of Things (IoT).
One of the business models we will see to emerge even more in the coming year will be companies offering tailored analysis of the data we produce from our connected devices or through our interactions with other connected devices.
Find out which gas station you pass the most often offers the best prices on those snack cakes you like. Get a bespoke analysis of your physical activity: Why do you slow down after lunch and how can this data help you live a more active lifestyle? Services offering unique analysis of these data sets and insights into our lives and habits will be a significant growth segment in 2016.
Of course these are just a few of my IoT predictions for the next 12 months.
The IoT is growing by leaps and bounds, allowing us to seamlessly connect countless devices to the Internet as well as to collect massive amounts of data across a wide array of interactions.
In the coming year we will feel these benefits in almost all aspects of our lives. And as our lives become truly more connected we will begin to benefit from this newly enriched reality in ways that today are beyond our imagination.
Title image by Devan Rajaram