Is The 'Hype' Killing IoT's Real Potential?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jun 25, 2015


By now, we know the Internet of Things (IoT) is not exactly a hype, especially because a number of biggest organizations such as Google, Samsung and General Electric are generously investing in the technology. Most analysts are also upbeat when it comes to Iot trends and market growth. However, for a vast majority, it is a hype - and the very thought of this is even killing the ‘real’ potential of IoT as we know it.

A new data market researcher Argus Insights shows how dramatic the falloff in interest - and the rise in frustration - around Iot has already begun. Consumer interest in home automation has dropped 15 percent versus a year ago, moving in the opposite direction of the vendor and media hype. The other notable observation is that social network conversations on various IoT topics shows a huge drop in interest from March 2015 through May 2015, and low home automation interest for the whole period, it said.

“Based on our review of consumer interest, the state of home automation in 2015 is not looking good for anyone who sells or makes these devices,” wrote Argus CEO John Feland.

“Even though Google and Samsung made big purchases in this space by buying Nest thermostats, Dropcam, and the suite of Smart Things products, demand is stagnating. It is obvious that the early adopters have bought what they want and other consumers are expressing frustration that these products are complicated and difficult to set up and use, he said.

If one takes the firm’s analysis at face value, relatively few consumers are interested in thermostats controllable via iPhone or a networked smoke detector that talks. But not every analyst firm believes the Internet of Things is useless.

Upbeat on IoT

According to analysts IoT real potential will be seen in the year 2020. Research firm IDC which is always upbeat about IoT predicts the IoT market will nearly triple to $1.7 trillion by 2020. “IoT is set for a big leap especially with the emergence of big data, cloud and mobile. The huge growth will be driven by factors such as proliferation of smartphones, tablets, wearable techs and other connected devices as well as greater availability of bandwidth and elements that are being embedded in modern devices such as sensors, image recognition and NFC technologies.

 The market according to IDC is valued at $655.8 billion in 2014, is set to grow at a compounded annual rate of 16.9 percent in the next 5 years.

Gartner, which offered a more moderate view issued a report in late 2014 that suggested more than 25 billion devices will be part of the Internet of Things by 2020. While the majority of those units will be consumer-focused, it predicted, industry and the enterprise could have a significant presence in the space. Governments and utilities will also rely on sensors and smart devices to make services and energy grids more efficient.

Moreover Shelly Aggarwal, Enterprise Resource planning specialist and IT critic argues in her blog that the added connectivity will not only come from consumer devices, but all kinds of industrial or company-owned assets as well, with connectivity becoming an expected feature on just about every physical asset in the world, much like it is becoming on consumer electronics devices today. “To put this in perspective, today there are 80 “things” connecting for the first time to the Internet every second, and by 2020 this will expand to 250 every second,” she comments, which is certainly no hype.

If you choose to believe the hype, or if the idea of working on networked devices interests you enough to pursue a career in the segment, adapting to the Internet of Things will require a strong mix of hard and soft skills. Building connected devices (and the networks that support them) involves work from multiple disciplines, meaning anyone who gets involved in the market will need solid collaboration skills.

Challenges remain

Experts at Argus believe as IoT includes highly consumer-facing technology, professionals working in the space will likely need to explain the core concepts in ways understandable by anyone, such as consumers, managers, and others.

The Internet of Things will demand data scientists who can manage, analyze massive amounts of unstructured data produced by interconnected devices. It will also present opportunities for app builders and software developers who build the smartphone and PC dashboards that control and monitor IoT networks, it said in the report.

Security professionals will find work protecting these networks from vulnerabilities; in the case of the Industrial Internet, patching vulnerabilities and discovering system weaknesses is especially important, given the dangers inherent in a malicious actor seizing a real-world system.

Despite several odds as connected devices evolve, there will be constant pressure to improve battery life and the capabilities of sensors. 

Anders Gustafsson is CEO of Zebra Technologies said in an interview to WSJ, “The vision Kevin Ashton had almost 15 years ago is very real today. Enterprises positively view a more interconnected world, with some already using IoT technologies and many more with short- and long-term plans to implement solutions. “While we need to consider some of the more practical aspects of IoT, including technical and internal challenges, let’s try not to lose the possibilities the Internet of Things will bring to business,” he explained.