IoT has been on the rise for the past several years, shifting from basic Bluetooth enabled devices like fitness trackers to speakers and into more advanced device networks including complex home security systems and personal assistants. Of course, as with any trend, the buzz can end at any moment – so how is IoT fairing midway through 2017? One word: growth.
It’s All About Voice
Back when Siri first hit the scene, she was a novelty; everyone was curious about this mysterious, built-in assistant, but many found her equally useless or annoying. Now, though, Siri’s voice command model is at the fore of IoT. As more people invest in personal assistant devices like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and the forthcoming Bixby from Samsung, Siri has serious competition.
Voice search has become so prominent in the IoT marketplace that Stone Temple Consulting predicts that within the next 5-10 years, 60% of people will use in-home voice search. That’s some serious growth and early adopters are getting into the game right now.
A final note on voice; not only is voice search central to 2017’s IoT trends, but voice recognition is also gaining ground. Voice recognition tools benefit both individuals and service providers by improving service and search results, personalizing how a given system responds. Expect service providers to know which member of your household is calling in and personal assistant devices to recognize each family member’s preferences.
Synchronizing Security Systems
Another device subset fueling IoT growth in the first half of 2017 is home security systems. While home security used to be largely outsourced – systems were typically installed by external companies who monitored them remotely – individuals are now taking the process into their own hands.
There are many layers to IoT-based home security. For example, Norton recently revealed the Core, a router that not only coordinates other IoT devices but monitors the whole system for suspicious activity. With concerns about home security systems being hacked, this is a worthwhile investment.
The many layers available for home security systems are also helping to fuel market growth in 2017. Even simple DIY security systems might include an app, door monitors, cameras, and digital locks. More advanced systems still require external installation for appropriate wiring, but you can say goodbye to old-school security; your home safety is in your hands.
A Continued Fitness Focus
Many people associate IoT almost exclusively with fitness industry trends – Fitbit, Garmin, Misfit and other devices set the stage for this perception – and there’s some truth to this framing. Fitness focused tools are among the most popular and affordable IoT devices on the market and though their reliability is questionable, they’re motivational tools at the very least. We’ll commit to anything that gets us moving.
In the bigger picture, though, we’re seeing growth even within fitness IoT. Sensor-connected clothing, integrated gear for improved performance, and weight loss systems that track nutrition, activity, and weight have all hit the market. You can even get your pet on board with FitBark, a device that monitors your dog’s activity and sleep, just like Fitbit does for you. IoT designers know we love to pamper our pets and these are sure to sell out.
IoT is getting smarter, adding elements of machine learning that will transform basic tracking tools into advisers, trainers, and more. From where we stand right now, mid-2017, IoT is still in its infancy, but its future is bright.