This blog post was written by Nick Viney.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is now commonplace in society today. Since the term was first coined back in the 80’s, connected devices have changed our lives in ways many of us could only dream of. However, whilst the growth has been significant, integrating IoT devices into everyday life even further is not without its challenges. In this post, I’m going to look at some of the trends that will help take IoT integration even further, as well as some of the hurdles being faced.
Today, the most common way of interacting with IoT devices and electronics is primarily touch. However, the ability to use voice is shaking up how consumers and technology interact. Voice is making a significant impact on our everyday lives and it will continue to become more prominent as the technology evolves. Very recently, we’ve seen the introduction of Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home devices. With the likes of Siri, Cortana and Assistant already being used outside of smartphones and tablets, it will only be a matter of time before consumers are controlling their IoT devices by voice. It has even begun to make its way into cars, as we’ve seen with Nissan introducing Cortana to the dashboard interface. Using our hands could well become a thing of the past!
Big Data & Machine Learning
At the very core, big data and IoT need each other. Both are powerful trends that are reshaping the way consumers and businesses operate. However, the value of IoT for big tech firms isn’t just in the hardware, it also lies in the huge amounts of data the devices are producing. Data is becoming the ‘new oil’ and IoT devices increase the amount of data companies have on consumers, making them incredibly valuable. Companies will start to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse the huge pools of data allowing them to provide a much more tailored offering with devices eventually beginning to learn and adapt to how we use them. With AI integration, it gives companies the ability to analyse data and learn, with devices ultimately becoming automated — a fundamental shift in how consumers interact with their devices.
Safety & Security
With more devices becoming connected and even more planned for the future, one of the biggest elements that needs to be addressed to make IoT a success is making sure devices are safe and secure. A recent report from Gartner predicted there will be 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ in 2017 and as many as 20 billion by 2020 — a huge amount of devices that if breached, could at the very least expose critical user data, but could also do much worse when we consider how connected hospitals and cities are becoming. If we take hospitals for example, an attack on the network could have huge ramifications on patients so as the reliability on technology increases, the security must mirror that. Looking at things much closer to home, implementing the right security platforms, like our Smart Home software will make sure cyber attacks on your connected devices in the home don’t happen.
As we’ve mentioned before, the exponential growth of IoT means more and more devices will be using a network, which will in turn place an incredible amount of strain on our networks. The result of an overburdened network could mean a drop in service, which is something most businesses and consumers would be keen to avoid. How many times has your internet connection dropped or your WiFi cut out for a few seconds? It’s not uncommon in the home today and the consequences are probably minimal, but imagine that happening for businesses — it could be catastrophic. Seamless integration is critical for the successful use of IoT.