- TECHNICAL CENTER
While the Internet of Things could be a groundbreaking trend over the next few years, increasing efficiency at home and work, there are still a few hurdles holding companies back from realizing the vision of a connected world. Once they’ve settled on a subscription billing partner to monetize your app and figured out how to address security concerns, device-makers also need to consider what protocols their device will work with. The main question is, what will connect all of these connected devices?
In an ideal situation, multiple devices will be able to communicate with one another. For example, as Nest pointed out, Nest Cam, a cloud-based video monitoring camera, can begin recording when a device in the home detects smoke. The Mimo baby monitor can activate the camera if the baby starts to move. There are endless examples of how smart devices can work together to make life easier for residents.
“In theory, smart devices can work together to make life easier.”
Companies have made it possible to connect almost any object to the Internet. The next step is to make these devices communicate with each other more effectively, and the first battleground is the smart home. Developers will soon come up against a consistent problem: device fragmentation. Until someone creates a “killer app” that allows all devices to communicate with one another, there will be multiple, competing networks. Apple has HomeKit; Google, which owns Nest, has Weave and can also use Thread to connect devices. There are also smaller players, such as ZigBee and WeMo.
With all of these different device environments, developers may have a hard time making inroads in the market. A consumer with a Nest thermostat may choose not to purchase a device that doesn’t work within the Weave or Thread ecosystem. On the other hand, a consumer that started off with an Apple device likely won’t want anything that doesn’t operate on the HomeKit network. If consumers purchase their devices without researching first, they may require more than a network to control everything. This situation leads to more complication, rather than less. Device developers need to be careful where they hitch their wagons in this new environment.
There are other considerations as well. In the current market, a smart home might be more intelligent than the average home, but it’s often more cumbersome to use the appliances, as The Verge pointed out. For example, consumers need to operate all of these devices from their smartphone, rather than just flipping a switch on the wall. Devices that enable homeowners to activate them using voice controls could be the future of IoT.
Unlike toying with a smartphone, using voice activation to activate devices is more convenient than using traditional methods to interact with objects in the home.
To this end, a number of new platforms have arisen to compete with Apple’s Siri. Amazon recently introduced Echo and LG just announced its SmartThinQ Hub, ZDNet reported. Each of these voice activated systems is compatible with certain smart home systems but not others.
Navigating this marketplace could be tricky for device developers who want to find success in the consumer IoT market. Developers should seek out a protocol that provides a wide range of options and a robust roster of devices that already connect with it. There are many considerations for developers who want to succeed in the budding IoT market. While it’s crucial to find a subscription billing partner to gain revenue from your product, you also need to navigate a complex web of networks or risk introducing a product that consumers won’t want to buy.