Six things we learned about the Internet of Things in 2014

This post is one in a series reviewing the industries that Gemalto works in in 2014. If you want to view all of the posts, please click this link.

In 2014, the Internet of Things hit the mainstream. Consumer applications of the technology are now so rife that the recent CES show in Las Vegas was dominated by smart, connected devices.

Much of this momentum was built up in 2014. Here’s our run-down of the most important developments we saw over the last 12 months.

  1. The pace of innovation is growing: As the Internet of Things develops, ideas that have previously seemed like science fiction are becoming real. When we launched our IoT Maker contest back in September, a reader submitted an idea for a smart motorcycle helmet which displays dashboard information (speedometer, GPS etc) to the driver in the visor. Around the same time, Skully announced just that – the world’s first motorbike helmet with fully integrated Heads-Up Display. Similarly, our M2M Fact or Fiction quiz included an imaginary ‘waist management’ belt which would alert the wearer when it needed to go up a notch. Anyone that attended CES this month might just have seen something similar!
  1. The mainstream is ready: Early adopters and technology enthusiasts have long been sold on the benefits of the Internet of Things. But in 2014, mainstream consumers got on board as well. The huge success of connected heating systems from the likes of Google’s Nest and the rise of the wearable fitness band shows that the general public is ready for a new generation of smart devices. With smart watches, activity trackers and many more gaining in popularity, 2015 could be a pivotal moment for connected consumers.
  1. The IoT is keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive: The drawing board for IoT ideas, whether streamlining processes or enabling entirely new business models, is vast. Concepts that wouldn’t have been previously possible are suddenly relatively straightforward to conceive, and quick thinking, innovative startups are reaping the benefits. Our IoT Maker competition, which challenged anyone to come up with their own IoT application, unearthed a wide range of clever ideas, one of which we’re going to build and show publicly at Mobile World Congress.
  1. Common standards are on their way: So far, one potential hindrance to the IoT’s momentum is a lack of a common standard to link connected devices together. But progress is being made in helping developers to work with the standards that do exist– for example, the Eclipse Foundation’s release of its Open IoT Stack for Java in late September. This open source development platform supports all the main IoT standards, as well as providing frameworks to build IoT gateways and home automation systems. Similarly, there’s an ongoing standardization initiative at ETSI and oneM2M.
  1. A new challenge and opportunity is emerging for Mobile operators: The reams of sensors being deployed to support smart-grids and environmental monitoring platforms, and the proliferation of iPads (which now ship with on-demand connectivity (ODC)) is creating a huge revenue opportunity for the connectivity providers: however, accustomed to 24-month-contracts for traditional telephony and data services, they will need to find new ways of managing the customer relationship in a world of ODC Subscription Management.
  1. More awareness of the need for security
    As the IoT rapidly expands, it’s never been more important to consider and plan security architecture at the very beginning of design and development, identifying risks specific to individual use cases and mitigating them through secure product design and best practices. The goal in planning overall architecture is to secure what needs to be secured at the right level and price point for each individual business case. The good news is that the industry is beginning to see this dynamic in motion, especially in highly regulated fields where the public and private sectors are working together to lay a foundation for a more secure IoT.

What else do you think 2014 taught us about the IoT? CES 2015 has already got our appetites whetted for 2015, which looks to be an even more exciting year for M2M and IoT technologies.

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