The arrival of the Internet of Things (IOT) marks a major watershed in the global consumer economy. Internet connections will be built in to a massive quantity of new products, from air conditioners to light bulbs and security alarms. These will all be controlled through apps and websites, and feed data into the cloud.
Startups specialized in home automation, established consumer electronics giants, and large Silicon Valley-based tech companies are all poised for a huge battle over this new consumer space, sometimes also referred to as the "Connected Life" market.
It's difficult to overestimate the importance of the Internet of Things because it will come to encompass all manner of products we don't normally think of as high-tech, such as UV-filtering window shades and door locks.
Here are some of top findings:
- Defining the Internet of Things: It’s helpful to think about IoT devices as a new device category layer that exists as the connective tissue between the formerly static non-connected world, and the world of PCs, tablets, and smartphones. For example, a connected washer and dryer unit can report energy usage and cycle settings to a smartphone app.
- A Huge Opportunity: Machina defines “Connected Life Market Revenue” as the sum of all of the revenue accruing from the sale of connected devices and all related services. They see revenue ballooning to $2.5 trillion by 2020.
- Large Opportunity in Consumer Categories: These include kitchen and home appliances, lighting and heating products, and insurance company-issued car monitoring devices that allow motorists to pay insurance only for the amount of driving they do.
- Large Manufacturers are 'There': These include LG, the Korean manufacturer of home entertainment systems and appliances and Friedrich, maker of AC units.
- Startups Are Jumping In: SmartThings has built its entire business model around easily deployable sensors, monitors, and apps that allow consumers to run everything in their home through their smartphone. It raised a $3 million seed round late last year. We also expect companies such as Apple, Google, and others to get more involved.
- It's Simple: IoT devices will contain three ingredients: An Internet connection, either in the device itself or a base station; a sensor, to collect incoming data; and a processor, because just like any computing device, an IoT gadget will have a chip that parses information.
- What IoT Devices Need: They need to be energy efficient, reliable over long time periods, work well in varied environments even outdoors, and be secure to avoid data breaches and hacking.
Top IoT companies to invest in: HERE
Best IoT conferences and expos: HERE
Wearable technology and IoT devices: HERE
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