While most people like the idea of the IoT, adoption continues to be slow, especially among consumers. Use of the IoT has been ramping up in various industries, as many technologies are now growing out of their early stages and working out the kinks. Though widespread IoT use is still a few years off, it’s time to start thinking about the new products and enhancements to existing IoT devices coming on the market for consumers in 2017, moving us toward the future of connectivity.
1. Smarter Personal Assistants
Back in the early days of smartphone, Siri was the latest and greatest technology out there, but she’s far from the only virtual “personal assistant” out there today. Amazon’s Echo device doesn’t integrate with smartphones, but it can manage many tasks for consumers, like shopping lists, music, timers, and more. Voice control makes incorporating this technology into everyday life incredibly easy and intuitive. New features for these personal assistants will likely drive even more consumers to start using this type of IoT technology in 2017.
2. Shifts Toward Smart Homes
Smart home systems are IoT devices that can control everything from the lights to the garage door, to the thermostat. Smart homes make everyday life easier and more convenient, and can even save homeowners money by conserving energy.
Still a major concern in the smart home industry, however, is security. Cybercrime experts have proven how easy it is to hack many of these devices, leaving potential customers worried about physical or cyber break-ins. A lot of work needs to be done on cyber security before smart home systems become standard in our homes.
3. IoT Devices With VR & AR Solutions
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are the next frontiers in entertainment, and they’re already becoming a reality. We’ve seen headset-style VR devices come onto the market for playing games—some of which use a smartphone as a screen. In 2017, we’ll likely see expansion and enhancement of these entertainment devices.
VR is also being used for some practical applications—like training athletes on plays without risking their safety by practicing maneuvers over and over.
Dedicated fitness trackers and watches that count steps and use GPS to help users stay active are still the most mature wearables on the market, but the possibilities for these devices are endless—and manufacturers are starting to explore them more. Zenta, a biometric wearable launching in 2017, is much more than a fitness tracker: its goal is to give users information on their well-being, emotions, and stress levels. It will also have the ability to interact with other IoT devices and the wearer’s smartphone.
On the industry side, professional sports teams are using some of the most advanced wearables on the market to help prevent player injuries. Coaches can monitor players for fatigue, favoring one leg or the other, heart rate, and other vital statistics to help them make decisions.
5. Enhanced Smartphone Integration
Many IoT devices can be controlled with a smartphone, and in 2017, we can expect to see even more integration to help consumers manage their devices. Streamlined, convenient access to data across devices will be the key to widespread IoT adoption, and the best option currently is allowing these devices to interact with the device most of us use the most: our phones. Wearables, smart home systems, and VR often depend on smartphone apps and technology—at least for now.