Want to know what the future looks like? Check out upcoming changes in the consumer market.
Because the IoE is just a rather vague and fluid concept right now, it is easy for just about anyone to define all or part of it in almost any fashion they desire. But some things do have a basis. For example, if you take a look at the consumer trends, as has been the case for years, you can glimpse what is happening in various segments throughout the IoE and, to some degree, where they are headed.
One example of that has been the proliferation of interconnect technologies in connected cars. For a long time (okay, maybe the last five years or so, but in technology time that is the equivalent of a lifetime in automotive time), being “connected” was limited to luxury brands. Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac, Lincoln and Audi were equipped with connected technology, but at premium price. In the next year or two that will proliferate through all brands. Expect to see this technology in everything from the Chevy Cruz to various Hyundai and Kia models, and at a very competitive prices. The point is this is a good example of what the consumer drives.
Using that perspective, you can also glimpse how the consumer IoE is taking shape. I’m talking about the flood of consumer products coming to market under the IoE (or IoT for those still a bit behind) moniker. For example, of late there seems to be a flood of highly sophisticated consumer IoE products on the market, with more and more coming. These come in all shapes and sizes, utilizing a slew of sensors, and almost every wireless connectivity platform known to man. These include sporting “watches” using 3D accelerometers, galvanic skin sensors, temperature and humidity sensors, GPS and more. They even track your sleep and heart rate throughout the 24 hours, linking to whatever devices you want with any of a half-dozen wireless protocols—with, of course, apps for that. New ones double as smart watches that can do text notifications and control music and other media.
Next there is the health IoE. The capabilities of these smart wearables includes health monitoring, such as the ability to keep track of heart rate. It won’t be long until this becomes a mobile electrocardiogram (EKG).
Another consumer health device is made by Samsung. It is called SleepSense, and it fits between the box spring and mattress to track a person’s sleep habits. This is direct connect to an access point – no wearable electronics are required. And, the pièce de résistance – it can control other devices like to turn off the TV once you fall asleep, so there is no need for a timer, and ring a smart alarm when it’s time to wake up. It can even connect to the smart home’s HVAC.
Around the house the IoE is ramping up, as well. Finally, you can pitch that worthless X10 technology that never really worked, anyway. Now, new wireless and powerline technologies, such as the SmartHome’s Insteon, and wireless protocols from the likes of the ZigBee, and Z-Wave Alliance, Bluetooth 4.0, ANT, and next-generation platforms like FIDO, make everything automatic. Get ready for your home to be smarter than you are with intelligent NFC-enabled locks, and LED lightbulbs that integrate a built-in stereo speaker – and, yes, there is a smartphone/tablet app to control all that. Then there is the next generation of the Nest Thermostat, now fitted with an integrated Protect alarm, and a camera.
The list goes on, and increasingly you’ll be able to see it in your everyday world, for better…and worse. Your thoughts?