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The International CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Held in Las Vegas every year, it has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years—the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.
Our SMG colleagues David Gould (EVP, Global Digital Managing Director) and Brandon Starkoff (EVP, Managing Director) were present and wrote about their experiences on connectivity at CES.
The proliferation of internet-connected devices, homes, cars, clothes (the list is endless) promises to unleash countless opportunities for anyone and anything that touches the web. From businesses seeking to grow the bottom line to individuals aspiring a more informed and improved quality of life, the potential applications, and resulting consequences, are infinite.
Here are some ways we expect to see the Internet of Things immediately manifest itself in some focused areas of importance at CES.
Connected Person: Personally wearable devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone UP have gained momentum in the fitness category but have recently begun to expand beyond relatively basic activity trackers. Devices such as Sensora Fitness Socks, Hexoskin Biotric Shirt and others take personal fitness and health to the next level allowing individuals (and their doctors) to monitor heart rate, respiration, glucose levels, vital signs and EKG readings. Other wearables like Google Glass and smartwatches enable constant connectivity and serve to inform, monitor, alert and even entertain.
More recently, wearable devices and apps designed for business have emerged. Salesforce.com recently launched the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack to connect companies with their customers through apps for wearables in entirely new ways. ARM, Fitbit, Google, Pebble, Philips, Samsung and others have joined the Salesforce Wear initiative to accelerate adoption of wearables in the enterprise.
Connected Home: The connected home is one that will enable its owner to monitor and adjust just about every aspect of her home including controlling climate and lighting, remotely or automatically locking doors and windows, turning appliances on and off, monitoring inventory levels of food and household products, creating corresponding shopping lists and so much more. It will take advantage of a wide array of connected devices such smart appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, TV’s, etc.), safety and security systems (internet-connected sensors, monitors, cameras, and alarm systems), and energy equipment like smart thermostats and smart lighting (e.g. Nest). The connected-home category will make up about 25% of shipments within the broader Internet of Things category this year and will grow at CAGR of 67% over the next 5 years — faster than smartphone and tablet growth.*
Connected Auto: A new era of automotive innovation is being influenced by the Internet of Things. Cars connected over IP offer instant alerts, navigation, streaming entertainment and remote connectivity. This is very quickly evolving into a self-driving platform being guided by various signals without our highway infrastructure and the automobiles themselves.
Connected Business: For businesses seeking to drive productivity and efficiency, the application of connected devices and sensors enables a deeper, real-time view into operations, logistics, inventory and more. The resulting insight can drive process improvement, cost reduction, automation and speed-to-market. For example, the implementation of beacons and RFid could help Amazon track and understand the movement of employees and inventory within ware houses and fulfillment centers to drive efficiencies of labor and inventory.
While we’re bound to be enamored by the glitz and glam of the products promising to deliver on the Internet of Things at CES, one thing to keep in mind is that underlying it all is data. And while data can drive incremental value, it also presents incremental risk for both businesses and individuals. Every connected device offers the benefit of deeper insight, understanding and real-time feedback, but inherent in every connected device and its associated data is the specter of breached security, loss of privacy and mismanaged data infrastructure. Businesses must build the right data management infrastructure, hire the right skillsets and employ the right security measures to manage, analyze and protect proprietary data and personal identifiable information (PII).
In summary, the Internet of Things offers incredible opportunity for convenience, insight, automation, efficiency and productivity for both businesses and consumers alike. The pace at which new devices and associated platforms and apps will be introduced will continue to accelerate as consumers become increasingly comfortable with the benefits of a connected world. The incredible upside associated with the Internet of Things comes with the increased cost and risks associated with managing and protecting enterprise and personal networks and their associated large troves of data.