Usually my mind is fixated elsewhere. I invariably have to ask myself whether I’ve switched off the iron or whatever appliance I happened to be using before I left. Oh, and did I lock the door?
Somebody could make a million bucks if they came up with a device that remotely shuts down any appliance large or small (not to mention the lights), and makes sure everything is locked up. Oh, wait! Somebody already has.
Such devices and connected technologies exist today, and the sector is driving the leading edge of the Internet of Things under the label of the “Connected Home” or “Smart Home”. Fact is, some pretty traditional low-tech concepts are becoming technology-enabled, such as/including locking doors, turning on the lights, heating the home, etc. What this means is that technology companies are broadening into areas that have historically been outside of their business plans. Apple is in the fitness business. Google is in the heating business. Samsung is in the appliance business. Others include cable TV and Internet provider Comcast, and the Schlage-brand lock maker Allegion.
By itself, the U.S. Smart Home market, already generating around $14 billion in sales, is going to jump to $39 billion by 2019. That’s according to a recent forecast by market research firm Strategy Analytics. This technology tsunami represents a major market opportunity for service and technology providers over the next five years.
The market could be worth billions and billions of dollars when properly monetized. And that’s just in the U.S. Why do you think Google purchased Nest back at the beginning of the year for $3.2 billion? Google’s not done yet. It recently followed on its Nest deal with a $555 million purchase of Dropcam, which is developing sticky pads tied into a network that can relay notifications when your door, gate or window flies open. Google is thinking about the big picture here. And it’s motoring into position for a race that it wants to win.
In early August Samsung plunked down $200 million to purchase SmartThings, which builds a “smart hub” that allow users to monitor, control and automate all of their appliances and devices at home. It followed up that deal a short time later with yet another deal, the purchase of home and office air conditioner distributor Quietside.
Just imagine: IoT devices monitoring your air conditioner, regulating temperature and keeping track of how the motor and compressor are running, and if something goes wrong, the same devices call in a repairman with a checklist of what’s to be done. And then send you an invoice to your smartphone.
Like I said, the Smart Home is but part of the emerging trend toward the Internet of Things. Here at Aria, we’re seeing similar advances in connected cars and smart health.
In a few years, just about every touch point in our day-to-day lives will have a digital as well as physical component. Morgan Stanley extrapolates Cisco Systems data to predict that there will be 9.4 devices out there for every person, or an eye-popping 75 billion devices.
The IoT lift-off has already occurred, and the launch is accelerating right before our very eyes. In 2014, 100 “things” are connected to the internet for every second of every hour of the day. By 2020, that number will jump to 250 “things” per second.
But it doesn’t come free. We’ll have to pay for all of this. That’s why monetization platforms will underpin the IoT economy. It will be no small task to keep up with monitoring, measuring, metering and provisioning services from the vast number of devices tied into the global network.
And it doesn’t end there. There’s going to be hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, made from new technologies that secure these smart networks from intruders, and to tie all of these disparate, proprietary systems into a cohesive fabric with middleware that will make it all run smoothly with a high level of privacy and security. The market possibilities are endless ─and enormous. There are dozens of next-generation Apples, Googles and Microsofts waiting to be born. It’s too big to pass up.
You in? I’m in! And not because I work at Aria, who’s already helping companies monetize these tremendous opportunities in front of them. I’m in because I expect the IoT to work for me too – even if it costs me good money to shut down to shut down appliances like my curling iron once I’m out the door.