The Internet of Things (IoT) will be a global enabler of connected – well-- things. But some geographic regions may have an edge is adopting the technology that will “smarten” everything from appliances to cities to the grid. North America, according to recent research, will lead the world in smart home development at least through 2020.
North America is the home to many of the technology companies –such as GE, Belkin and Google -- that are leading the drive toward connected things, the report finds. The North American market is also gaining traction for safety, peace of mind, increased awareness and better product offerings. The global smart homes market was valued at $20.38 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $58.68 billion by 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent, according to the report.
Another reason North America will drive smart home growth is America’s economy. The possibility of reduction in the prices of smart homes is driven by the scale of economies and expected adoption of the technology is the key to the market's growth in the future. Stakeholders are keen in developing versatile and widely accepted standards in smart homes. Regardless of the technology and cost of ownership, the operating & maintenance cost, complex installation, user awareness, ability to link disparate systems, Internet security, and demand for housing are some of the challenges in front of players in the smart home market. However, this market is expected to grow at a decent pace in the coming years.
Within the smart home market, the sub segments poised for the highest growth include security & access control, energy management system, HVAC control and entertainment control. The benefits of smart homes can only be realized if the technology becomes affordable for common people and accessible to those for whom it is essential, the report concludes. However, this is likely to happen if a broader consumer market gets traction by pushing down prices and creating more awareness.
Analysts have found that the issues of privacy and security are key concerns among potential smart home and IoT device users. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Internet of Things (IoT) - Disruptive Opportunities in Key Sectors, notes that various institutes and organizations in key IoT sectors are striving to frame standards for privacy policies regarding the sharing of information over the Internet.
Both European and American organizations are striving to simplify the seamless flow of information among devices, globally, Frost & Sullivan reports. A case in point is the separate committee formed by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) to focus on Machine2Machine (M2M) communication privacy standardization. Similarly, the Open Automotive Alliance is a global alliance of automobile companies and technology partners that is working to establish a standard Android platform for communication between mobiles and vehicles.
Another solution to accelerate the wide-scale adoption of several applications and technologies in the IoT space is a unified gateway.
"Gateways that are developed covering all aspects of communication and data handling for various applications could simplify the implementation process for IoT," noted F&S Technical Insights Industry Analyst Swapnadeep Nayak. "Gateways embedded with Java – often used for cloud application development – could further enhance the capability of the platform in terms of interoperability."
Nanotechnology has its part to play in promoting IoT as well. The rapid progress made in the miniaturization of sensors and radio frequency identification (RFID) will aid the integration of transistors into any kind of physical object, irrespective of the footprint of the device. Participants can also enhance privacy and network security by incorporating smart sensors to track user habits and movement within the cloud.
As IoT requires an open architecture, users tend to be skeptical about the platforms' ability to maintain the integrity of their data. Their concerns can be assuaged to some extent with the convergence of emerging technologies such as Big Data and context-aware computing with IoT. Leveraging the advantages of converged technology will improve the analysis of user data and access rights for the creation of a secure environment for IoT.
"The huge pressure on the network for connectivity with multiple devices could lead to a new artificial intelligent cognitive architecture for managing data network," said Nayak. "Therefore, the success of IoT could well be linked to the efficiency of the cognitive radio network architecture."
Overall, by employing a common cloud infrastructure with a unified application programming interface for all application sectors, IoT can bring down the costs of deployment while enhancing the efficiency of devices with data from countless gadgets, the researcher concludes.