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What will the Internet of Things be when it grows up?

Shawn DuBravac | Jan. 6, 2016
IoT-enabled devices can improve efficiency, reduce costs and often solve real-life issues. On the eve of CES, the chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association writes that we are entering an important phase of experimentation for Internet-enabled objects.

Roughly three in 10 houses already have smart home devices, according to a survey by CNET and Coldwell Banker. And among those homeowners with connected devices, 87 percent say the technology makes their lives easier and 45 percent say that, on average, smart home technology saves them more than $1,100 a year.

“We believe that in three to five years, homebuyers will expect Smart Home technology,” says Sean Blankenship, chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. He says smart home technology will soon be the “new norm.” This prediction is borne out by the survey’s finding that nearly half of millennials own smart home devices and that 81 percent say they are more likely to buy a home with technology than one without it.

The possibilities of the IoT revolution

The IoT revolution will offer us opportunities and ease-of-use we could have never imagined, but suddenly find ourselves unable to live without. The majority of us have already experienced this didn’t want it/didn’t need it/must have it trajectory with innovations like the television, the VCR and its successors, GPS, smartphones and – of course – the Internet. All of these innovations were things we once lived without, until we integrated them into the fabric of our daily lives so thoroughly and completely that they have become part of our daily rituals and in large measure have forever changed how we interact with others.

With hundreds of thousands of connected objects on the market, it’s true that some will become must-haves while others will serve a purpose then disappear. Some may never grab consumer attention and others may take decades before we fully realize their potential and integrate them into our lives.

We are entering an important phase of experimentation for the Internet and Internet-enabled objects. We are seeing what’s possible. Not everything will garner wide adoption, but that’s OK. There are niche products, but there are also niche markets. These markets are well-defined. They have specific needs and users. These IoT solutions will seem unnecessary to some, but a godsend to others. 

We need to give IoT time to thrive, and identify the markets for it that make sense. Consumers will vote with their wallets. They’ll self-select into the markets that matter most to them. The Internet of Things is really about finding new places that make sense for the Internet. Let consumers decide what their next Internet will be.

 

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