This post must have grabbed your attention because you are aware about IoT and why it is one of the major investment hub in the today’s market. You might have read many articles about IoT, how it works, what are the different technologies, components that are involved in the complete IoT system. This post is more from a consumer perspective rather than a developer.
The concept of IoT for a consumer is absolutely fascinating. It is obviously more fun when someone else is doing all of our work when we take rest. That’s more like a aim for IoT system. People like to give orders and get their work done in style, but the icing on the cake is when you don’t give any order but work is done. Sounds exciting, right?
Mobile has become most important and quick interface for ubiquitous computing for consumers. It is not limited to SMS, e-mail, surfing and apps but serves as the socket to the consumer IoT needs.
The consumer expects that everything around him should work for him over a single click of a button. To serve this command, it is essential that all objects must be smart objects. The expectation is not hypothetical but true. There are various different sensors present in the market which can allow users to do anything using one click. The smart objects need some extra chip which can help send and receive command/data to the consumer. The objects can be anything like windows, doors, curtains, watches, televisions, automobiles, coffee maker, health monitors, thermostats, security systems, LCD, AC, plug, pantry and household products etc. This list can go on and on as there are plenty objects around us, signifies the vast investment already done in IoT.
For example, I have a button sensor of a particular vendor. I click on this button sensor to off my dinning room lights and also stop camera recording. This can be achieved by creating rules using IFTTT concept.
Some of the example could be a consumer wants his smart alarm clock to wake him up at 6 am and commands coffee maker to brew coffee. Some person would like his car to be smart enough to identify problem in car components and tell the customer service on our behalf so that they can serve him better and faster. Some enthusiastic gym person would want his wearable device like smart watch or smart band to inform about the calories burnt in the entire day at night time so that he can plan activities for the next day. Some of your colleague would want to paint can knowing it’s nearly empty or your car recognizing when you are going to the hardware store to buy another. As already said, there are n number of use cases and applications involved in IoT system.
Though I don’t have any smart devices installed at home except my smart watch, I have read many articles of people mentioning about their experience for their installed connected devices at home and it is worth to reconsider the goals of IoT industry. Most of the people believe that security has utmost importance as most of the data involved is private. If the system is secure, more people prefer it.
They want to automate everything that they do or should happen repeatedly most of the days. The example could be that they should be able to remotely turn on a light while sitting on the couch. Lights should turn get dim automatically during evening time. This depends on the various light modes available to the user and he has selected one by default for the best case. Some consumer need application to ask for permission before dimming the lights. The use cases differ for person to person.
Image a house combined with Google Now. It is all about home as a platform. Imagine a water sensor in a bathtub and that links to a radio or light plugged into a connected wall socket so when water splashes outside the tub, immediate feedback can be generated to tone it down. This might be the custom use case and may not be included in the offered home automation packages currently.
As there is no limit to the innovation in IoT and lot of creativity can be achieved in connected homes. The services like IFTTT (i.e. Rules and Recipes) to drive the automation stuff have great appeal. Consumers need app connecting home to be easier, rather than too much too much configurable. The key is minimum click, maximum automation output with easier process.
Also, I have seen that people don’t prefer smart objects of different vendors. This can lead to managing them using different apps and can be painful in management. It’s also why hardware vendors like Nest or Samsung are trying to push smart products into the user’s home where the more devices from that same vendor you buy, the better experience you have. But I don’t think consumers buy devices that way, and it also ignores the idea that the real value in the connected home are actually the services.
But when it comes to the smart home, this race to appreciate the customer is the defining drama of this market. I think that it will shake out in the next year as more and more people will purchase connected products would want to automate many things than just turning on the lights from couch. I expect biggies like Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft and Google will release their products soon in the market for IoT as they have already release many IoT frameworks for the developers. Lot more exciting stuff is going to come soon.