The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to connect billions of new devices of every kind to the Internet over the next few years. From door locks, light bulbs, coffee machines and refrigerators to parking meters, traffic signals, health monitors, medical implants, water meters, asset tags and shipping containers, the vision is that many of today’s physical products will become ‘smart’ devices that communicate with each other. Every forward thinking company today is developing a plan to understand how it will impact its future—and how to best prepare for it.
The path forward, however, has many obstacles: technological, financial, and regulatory. The situation is further complicated by security and privacy fears and the lack of a common technical standard. Early adopters, technology geeks and trend setters have already embraced the category, even crowd-funding the development of many of its early products. However, the general public still remains largely confused about the value proposition of IoT consumer products and services.
As with the web and mobile, and before that television and radio, the development of the consumer IoT market will depend on better understanding the needs and interests of its users. Most of the real opportunities and dominant business models still have to be uncovered, and market research based on consumer measurement can help see past the hype and unlock IoT’s full potential.