Despite incredibly optimistic predictions and expectations of the future of the Internet of Things this year, with some reports stating that it will generate as much as $1.2 billion during 2016, adoption has not been as quick as some hoped. It is true that 2015 did witness numerous unique and innovative IOT inventions, but for the most part manufacturers seem to remain content with equipping devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth radio and claiming it is a digital revolution.
Unfortunately the same snares and shortfalls are limiting the adoption of the IOT within the home. In this setting the Internet of Things seems unable to move beyond smart light bulbs, internet-connected cameras and wireless operated speakers.
The problem for the most part seems to be that many manufacturers are more concerned with merging two existing products together as opposed to genuine innovation. This can be seen in the wide array of “new” gadgets available, that range from remote controlled coffee machines and Bluetooth deadbolts for front doors, through to Wi-Fi enabled refrigerators.
However, this merging of two existing components to create something fresh is not completely a bad thing. Take the recent announcement that Samsung and Microsoft will partner in order to develop a dedicated IOT operating platform that is compatible with Microsoft 10. A further strong example in Amazon’s recent Echo creation, whereby users can talk to their car in order to get it to perform a series of functions.
When it comes to genuine and novel IOT devices, whilst they are few and far between for the most part, there have been some impressive innovations. The Owlet smart baby monitor for instance enables parents to monitor and check on their infants without having to disturb them. The Droppler water monitor, on the other hand, listens actively for running taps throughout a home, whilst also being able to function a home security camera or wireless speaker.
The chief shortfall of new innovations for deployment with the IOT seems to be the over willingness of manufacturers to digitise any physical process, take the 4mom’s self-installing child car seat as example, just for the sake of digitising it. Whilst some of these devices are useful and have their quirks, who doesn’t want to be able to turn their lights on and change their colours from hundreds of miles away? Most of these systems are undermined by the amount of time that will be spent troubleshooting a system that replaces a process which is already relatively simple.
However the IOT is still in its infancy and if last year is anything to go by, devices and systems will come into being that will provide high levels of benefits for everyday issues.