The Trillion-Dollar IoT Opportunity

Peter Cottreau, Vice President, Electronics at Design 1st sat in on a CES 2017 session called 'The Trillion-Dollar IoT Opportunity'.

The session was moderated by a hit-list of IoT Industry specialists from Bluetooth SIG, ABI Research, Under Armour Fitness and Texas Instruments.

Peter wrote an excellent synopsis of the talk below:


Author: Peter Cottreau
VP Electronics, Design 1st

The Internet of Things is projected to be a multi-trillion dollar industry.

Connected devices are coming to market at a staggering rate. Developers, manufacturers and innovators are working diligently with the goal of meeting expectations for the IoT.

The panel brought together thought leaders from the standards world, the analyst community, OEM silicon systems design, and end-user device manufacturers for their perspectives on the current state of the IoT and the issues that will dominate as the technology matures.

Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Office @ ABI Research observed that we are in the first phase of a 2-phase process in the evolution of the IoT.

The first phase is the “connectivity” phase in which we develop the physical interfaces that act as the on-ramps of the IoT.

It is important to understand that, at the physical level, there is not one single market. Multiple applications in a multitude of verticals lead to the fact that no one technology is going to solve all the problems. Note that IoT, LoRa, Sigfox, WiFi, Bluetooth, Thread, Zigbee, Z-wave and others all have an application area where their unique characteristics serve as the optimal solution.

The second phase, which we are about to broach, is the “data” phase.

 In this phase we will see the emergence of a new set of applications which consolidate, analyse and disseminate value-added information and services to users.

Ben McAllister, Under Armor’s Director of Strategy for Connected Fitness remained admirably on message throughout the session.

He noted that Under Armour is a cloud/app data player looking to partner for low-level device tech and observed that “no one is asking for the IoT, they need help becoming better athletes”. Here he brings an interesting point for device developers: the more frictionless the experience the more readily it will be adopted.

People care less about Bluetooth and WiFi and more about the quality and seamless operation of their equipment.

Mattias Lange of Texas Instruments emphasized the dire need in the IoT for device/network level security. He warns there is a shortcoming in the industry with respect to the need to understand and communicate the security story across interface technologies back through the network.

He points out that, on top of the normal course data communications issues, developers must address provisioning/configuration/firmware update and management in the field in order to properly meet the demands of the IoT.

Stuart Carlaw, with hearty approval from the other panelists, pointed out that it takes the right technology combined with a good software implementation for optimal solutions and ultimate success.

"Hardware IoT device developers be warned, the right technology selection without optimal software will yield poor results in the hands of the end user."

In summary, IoT developers must be aware of the end user requirements and how these match to the myriad interface possibilities.

They must be capable of enabling this hardware with frictionless user interface designs that render the technology transparent to the end user.

Finally, they must provide an underlying software implementation that is properly tailored, robust and deployable.

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