The rise of the consumer

Beyond IOT, the consumer Internet of things will affect everyone, and make our lives easier.
Read time 4min 00sec

Pretty much everyone has heard of the Internet of things (IOT). Basically, IOT refers to a system of connected and inter-related computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

What you may not have heard of, but which you are almost certainly part of, is the consumer Internet of things (CIOT). A subsection, if you will, of IOT, the difference between the two lies in the types of devices, applications and technologies that drive each. More importantly, it lies in their primary purpose.

The easiest way to explain it is probably in the nitty-gritty of it. CIOT falls into the space consumed with consumer devices and applications in the consumer electronics space such as smart watches or smart thermostats, while IOT encompasses industrial devices and applications such as freight monitoring in transportation, intelligent manufacturing systems or IOT building management solutions.

The global CIOT market is anticipated to reach around $143.5 billion by 2025.

Fuelled by the explosion of smart homes, personal assistants, wearable tech and smart security systems, the growing worldwide demand for advanced IOT-based home technology is anticipated to drive the CIOT market in the future.

CIOT technology has huge potential to make it easier for older folks to remain in their own homes and maintain their independence.

In 2017, over 27 billion devices were connected through IOT and this number is estimated to reach 125 billion by 2030.

Bottom line though – how does that affect you and I, and make our lives easier?

Advances in caring for the elderly

Various medical and health advancements are enabling humans to live longer than ever and the implications of caring for an aged population are of huge concern, to family and government alike.

CIOT technology has huge potential to make it easier for older folks to remain in their own homes and maintain their independence – lightening the financial and emotional load.

A company called Temboo has taken this to heart, and has built an application which allows family members to remotely keep ‘an eye out’ as it were. By combining inputs from a microphone, motion sensor, paging service and real-time streaming data, the activities of family members can be monitored.

With a built-in alerting system that can dynamically determine when something doesn’t seem 100% right, caretakers can be notified if something goes wrong. Imagine the possibilities of what could be achieved with this level of remote monitoring. And not just for the elderly.

How smart is your home?

By far, the emergence of smart/connected home technology is the most popular application of CIOT: voice-controlled and automated appliances – from lights to music to alarms. This is the wave of the future and many companies and start-ups are focusing specifically on this niche. Right down to appliances that are designed to be a moving mobile assistant for the home, that can also entertain your pets while you are away.

Introducing Ballie – Samsung’s ‘life-companion’ device which uses a mobile interface, on-device artificial intelligence capabilities, voice activation and an in-built camera to recognise and respond to its users. Switch lights on and off, order milk, set an alarm, and get Ballie to play with Fido. Home automation doesn’t get much better than that.

The old stalwart: wearable tech

Ever popular and on the market for a while now, wearable tech, such as smart watches and glasses, is still enormously popular.

While advances in augmented and virtual reality have recently injected some new excitement into the world of wearable tech, the biggest advances have probably been at a health and wellbeing level.

In South Africa, healthcare monitoring and the subsequent reward is now prolifically being used as a selling point of smart watches and rewards plans.

Redefining personal assistants

Personal assistants have been around for a while; Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant to name the three most popular and readily accessible.

Advances in location sensors, mapping software, Bluetooth, GPS, smartphone apps, RFID tags, etc, mean we are rapidly moving towards a world in which we cannot live without our own electronic butler.

A silent companion that connects us to all the potential that is inherent in IOT? I’m not sure if that is beyond cool or scary as hell. The future will tell.

Jessie Rudd

Technical business analyst at PBT Group

Jessie Rudd is a technical business analyst at PBT Group, a position she has held since 2011. In this role, she is responsible for combining data analysis assignments and researching new technologies in this space. Rudd holds training in IT (computer management) and has been exposed to a number of industries over the past 10 years, including BI, financial services, retail, market research, as well as corporate functions such as call centres, human resources and IT. This broad experience allows her to grasp the complexity attached to converting data into intelligence. Rudd has a passion for investigating new technologies and making others aware of them, as well as finding the most efficient tools for successfully undertaking a required task.

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