The Internet of Things (IoT), which connects previously inert devices in the home or workplace to the Internet to allow users to operate and oversee them remotely, is exploding: Connected-home device shipments, alone, are projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 67% over the next five years, much faster than smartphone or tablet device growth, and hit 1.8 billion units shipped in 2019 according to BI Intelligent.
The connected-home device market, which includes smart appliances, safety and security systems and energy equipment, is only one area of IoT. Enterprise and government use are taking off as well. And that provides a myriad of opportunities for software engineers to take advantage of this booming market.
Here are three ways that the IoT is enhancing our lives:
1. Convenience: Forget to start the dryer or preheat the oven? Connected appliances allow you to take care of mundane household tasks while you are gone so you can arrive home to a toasty home, a cooked meal and clean clothes. That Jetson fantasy is now a reality, thanks to IoT technology. And that convenience follows you with your connected car, which allows you to find your way, take your music with you and listen to your texts hands-free.
2. Safety: Smart locks allow you to assign codes to neighbors, family members and service people so you always know who’s coming and going and when; and then you can recode whenever you need to. Another great safety option is a connected security camera that allows you to keep an eye on your home or office remotely – look for intruders, but also check out what your kids are up to while you’re at work.
3. Efficiency: WiFi-enabled thermostats are one of the best ways to save money and energy by allowing you to program them around your schedule, to only heat or cool when you need it. Other great energy-saving devices to look into include smart irrigation, which allows you to automatically adjust your watering schedule based on factors such as weather, time of year and even zone type. Connected window shades can coordinate with the sun’s location and indoor temperature to keep your home’s temperature stable.
At the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, the buzz around IoT was deafening, with companies showcasing connected appliances, cars and related accessories and fitness gadgets. As IoT technologies become more prevalent and affordable, businesses of all sizes can use it to innovate.