IoT has emerged to reflect growing number of smart, connected devices. Yet this phrase is an oversimplification of the phenomenon and its massive implications.
A radio, kettle and oven are set to switch on at 6 am for a user who starts the day early. A smart watch enables the user to read and send texts and e-mails, and make calls on the way to work. A fitness wristband vibrates when it is time for the user to get up and take a walk in between work. A smart refrigerator tells the user what is out-of-stock and needs to be purchased on the way back from work. There is even a smart slow-cooker that lets the user adjust settings and check meal times on the go. That is how smart and connected devices would take over the reins of our day-to-day lives.
After surpassing the human population on the planet in 2011, the connected devices are expected to exceed 50 billion by 2020. These devices, which in the past were thought to comprise PCs, laptops, mobile phones and tablets, now include a range of new smart devices including fitness trackers, smart watches, smart glasses and connected cars.
The phrase “internet of things” or IoT has emerged to reflect growing number of smart, connected devices. Yet this phrase is an oversimplification of the phenomenon and its massive implications. What makes IoT more advanced and lucrative is not just the transmission of information over the internet, but the changing “nature of the things”. It is the expanded functionalities of smart connected devices such as location awareness, connectivity and data generation that are creating enhanced value for consumers.
As IoT gains traction among consumers, enterprises can “consumerize” IoT use cases and create additional value by integrating consumer IoT applications with their solutions and systems.
Consumer adoption of IoT is on the rise
Consumers are warming up to IoT, as is evident from the increased uptake of consumer IoT applications categories such as wearables, smart monitoring systems, telematics and in-home smart appliances.
Wearables come of age
Wearables are designed to be worn by the users and provide real-time information, data input capabilities and wireless connectivity. According to industry estimates, global total wearable shipments are expected to grow at a CAGR of 42.6% to reach 155.7 million units in 2019. Wrist-worn wearables (bands/bracelets and watches) and modular wearables (worn on any part of the body) account for an overwhelming majority of total wearable shipments. Among these categories, consumers are seeing more value in health, wellness and fitness monitoring. Connected fitness trackers, which measure movement such as steps taken, are already commonplace among fitness enthusiasts.
Smart monitoring systems pave way for improved health care
Connected health monitoring systems which track vital parameters such as blood pressure, heart rates can be used to continuously monitor chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart-related diseases, thereby reducing the need for patients to visit doctors frequently for check-ups and tests. A person with diabetes, for example, can use a connected blood glucose monitor to capture readings regularly and manage intake of sugar and insulin. The global mobile healthcare market (comprising connected medical devices, health care applications and related mobile technology) is poised to grow at a 5-year CAGR of 26.7% to reach US$20.7 billion by 2018.
Telematics enables a safer, secure and enjoyable ride
For consumers, in-car connectivity enables value-add services, such as navigation, vehicle diagnostics, automated emergency calls and real-time information about local traffic and nearby amenities. Telematics makes insurance tangible to the customer by increasing the potential for better risk management and more consumer touch points. The global telematics market is poised to grow exponentially in the future, with approximately 104 million new cars expected to have some form of connectivity by 2025.
Smart homes facilitate security, energy management and chore automation
The impact of the IoT is already evident in consumers’ homes. Connected home security systems, smart meters and smart home appliances are enriching the lives of consumers. In 2014, security devices and connected lighting together accounted for 50% of total smart home device shipments.
Connected security systems monitor opening of doors and windows and movement within the property through sensors. With smart meters and connected thermostats, consumers can optimize their energy use. Home automation systems enable elements of the home to be remotely controlled. Using their smartphone, consumers could configure connected appliances to perform certain tasks at certain times, for example, washing machine to finish the job when the user is away from home.
Linking consumer IoT use cases with enterprise systems offers a strong value proposition
Healthcare providers can link data gathered from patient’s health care monitor with their information systems to enable improved decision making on the patient’s treatment. Similarly, utility companies can link smart meters to their internal systems, thus removing the need to send out meter readers, while also giving the utility greater insight into the household’s consumption patterns. There is opportunity for insurance providers to leverage IoT data from sensors used by consumers in their homes or cars to provide usage-based personalized insurance plans. The automotive industry’s moves to develop self-driving cars are deeply linked with the evolution and demand of in-car connectivity.
Deliver the best to both the worlds
For consumers, the IoT has the potential to deliver solutions that improve efficiency, security, health care and positively impact significant aspects of daily life. For enterprises, IoT can establish solutions that improve decision-making and productivity in energy, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and other sectors. Currently, the market is operating in silos with discrete solutions for consumers and enterprises. New IoT use cases will be characterised by sophisticated solutions that will combine data from connected consumer devices with enterprises’ systems in order to improve processes, products and services. This will impact consumer lifestyles and provide enormous potential for enterprises to develop innovative services.