Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Wild Wild Internet of Things/Connected Home

We’re now 3 months into the Year of the Internet of Things. In case you didn't know it, 2014 has already been labeled the Year of the Internet of Things (IoT).

2014 is IoT, according to whom? Well many leading companies CEO’s, commentators, and journalists have said so - e.g see the Forbes story here 

2014 is the year of the Internet of Things/Connected Home.

So what is the Internet of Things or IoT all about then? Forbes Magazine says, “it refers to what less hip people may call home automation or automation of the car, controlling and connecting devices like security systems through the Internet and wireless networks – things affecting things”.

‘The IoT/Connected Home and the technology ecosystem surrounding it, are expected to be a $8.9 trillion market in 2020, with 212 billion connected things’, according to IDC (Oct 2013), the premier global market intelligence firm. See article here.

Cisco’s CEO recently announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2014, that the IoT/Connected home is a $19 trillion dollar opportunity and “the next big thing”.

But it’s still early days for IoT/Connected Home, you might even say that right now it’s a bit like the “Wild Wild West”.

The Wild Wild West has been characterized as “the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of new markets, and the formation of new states”.

Right now in the IoT space, we’re seeing the ‘story of the creation and defense of communities’ in the form of the Connected home – we’re building our own little online communities in our home, and defending them with hi – tech connected security systems. Here is a good article talking about home security in the connected home.

The ‘use of the land’, in the Wild Wild West could be compared to the ‘use of emerging technologies in the IoT/Connected home’ – e.g for a home to ‘connect’ it may use a combination or one of these technologies, ‘wi-fi’, ‘hubs’, ‘cloud computing’, ‘Zigbee’, ‘NFC’, ‘Bluetooth’, ‘LAN’, ‘routers’, and others.

The ‘development of the new markets’, well that one almost speaks for itself, here is another definition of IoT, ‘it allows devices and applications to work together and create new services built off the internet’.

An example of a new market/service born out of the IoT/Connected Home is the “Smartlock” industry, or we like to call it “Digital Keys”. A couple of couple of years ago, there was no such things as a smartlocks, let alone a new market, but according to a recent report discussed in a Forbes article, ‘Smartlocks’ are expected to be a $3.6 billion slice of the Smart home pie – see article here.

And finally ‘the formation of new states’, well you could simply replace the word ‘state’ with 'companies/partnerships'. An example of a formation of a new state/company is the recent $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs by Google. Companies like Google, Cisco and Amazon who are getting into the IoT space, have bigger power, revenues and budgets than most states nowadays right? – e.g see this article here about Amazon getting into the IoT space.

A more common understanding of the 'Wild Wild West' is that it was characterized by lawlessness and roughness. There are plenty of examples of lawlessness and roughness going on in the IoT world too, such as authorities in many countries calling for updated regulations for an IoT technology called Near Field Communications(NFC) e.g see article here.

And what better example of roughness, than 100 million Americans having their credit card details hacked in the USA Target hacking scandal as a result of using an old technology with the Internet called “magnetic stripes” – e.g see these articles here and here.

So how will it all end? Well the Wild Wild West ended in the transformation of Europeans into a new people, ‘The Americans’, whose values focused on equality, democracy, and optimism, as well as individualism, self-reliance, and even violence.

He said it, "first we lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we're going to live on the Internet".

The best analogy here I think is Sean Parker’s line from the movie “The Social Network” (Sean Parker played by Justin Timberlake), and that is;
“first we lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the Internet”.

So we're transforming from living in cities is like when the European settlers first arrived in America, to a new people that lives on the Internet, always connected, with a new set of values.

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