IoT Predictions: Voice Assistants, Smart Home Cameras Take Off

There are now more predictions of where the Internet of Things may be heading in the next year.

These are not forecasts based on orders or sales, but rather insights into coming market trends and directions.

The first batch of these, by Forrester Research, came out earlier this month, as I wrote about here at the time (2017 IoT Predictions: Complexity, Security, CMO Turnover).

Now the research firm has a second wave of Iot predictions for the next year. Here’s my synopsis of what I see as some of the most significant of them relating in any way to consumer marketing:

  • IoT will simultaneously shrink and enrich what I call influence points in the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle.  More and more influence points will be on connected devices, from smartwatches to home appliances to cars and virtual assistants. Connected devices will alert consumers when meat is cooked while smartwatches will identify when a new fitness goals is achieved. These connected devices will offer up a rich stream of data from heart rate to home temperature to mechanical failures that service and product owners can use to help consumers achieve outcomes.
  • New categories drive consumer IoT faster than replacement products. Many of the home IoT use cases involve upgrading or replacing perfectly good gear, such as door locks, appliances or door bells. Since most people wait for product failure or renovations to replace things, smart home tech adoption will move slowly. But two new categories of smart home tech will jump to 10% of homes in 2017: voice assistant appliances, such as Amazon Echo with Alexa and the smart cam systems, such as Withings Home or Canary, which combine cameras with sensors and features that enable monitoring family and home safety, without the guilt of junking good gear.
  • Vendors will inherit some of the cost to ensure full home wireless coverage. Many consumer IoT experiences connect over Wi-Fi because it’s the most ubiquitous Internet connectivity in the home. Companies like Google and Apple recognize that simple connectivity enhances the appeal of their products, and opens the door for new ones. In 2017 we’ll see a diverse set of businesses, ranging from Internet providers such as Comcast or security alarm companies such as ADT acquire technology and get consumers over the whole home connectivity hump.
  • There will be a large-scale IoT security breach. When just smart thermostats exceed over 1 million devices, it’s not hard to imagine a vulnerability that can easily exceed the scale of other common web vulnerabilities.

There also are likely to be some surprises in IoT developments next year, but since they will be surprises, the market will have to just wait and watch.