“The connected home has been talked about for some time but it is now potentially the next big technology revolution.” Colin Batten, Intellect’s digital media convergence manager.

“We are in the prehistoric phase of connected objects.” Bruno Auret, director of Raymond Interactive.


Description

The Internet of Things is definitely revolutionizing products and the way people interact with them. The “smart, connected products” – made possible by vast improvements in processing power and device miniaturization and by the network benefits of ubiquitous wireless connectivity – are about to unleash a new way of living and many surveys already indicate there is a craze around them. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of connected gadgets went from 4 to 15 billion according to digital-focused think tank Idate. Moreover, a Gartner study found that there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. The spectacular momentum has been confirmed with Google acquiring Nest Labs, the start-up that has launched the first connected thermostat, for $2,3 billion. Also, a myriad of startups have moved in this new market, to which the entry points are health and fitness as leading market segment. In France, 1 out to 4 people owns a connected object, of which 64% that are fitness-related, according to research institute BVA (vs. 1 out of 2 people in the U.S.)

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of connected gadgets went from 4 to 15 billion according to digital-focused think tank Idate. Moreover, a Gartner study found that there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020.

A Médiamétrie survey says that in February 2014, 76.8% of internet users had heard of connected objects, 40.4% citing “wearables”, 12.6% home automation and 9% glasses. Better, according to a poll by CSA for Havas Media France in January, 57% of Internet users believe that these objects will spread within the next five years because they are synonymous with progress (75%) and make life easier (71%). Cars topped the list (61%), followed by watches (49%) and refrigerators (48%), then glasses and scales (38%). The popularity of these smart things among consumers is driven by the desire to personally control important life-facts; to find the best deal or the most energy-efficient option, to opt for the healthiest choice; to be seen as the most technologically-equipped. In developed markets, where public finances are tight and the post-recession mindset is anxious, many people are willing to run responsible and efficiency-led lifestyles. In emerging countries, consumers associate the possession of the most efficient products with status.

Home automation

Devices and tools that are connected to each other have led to the emergence of the smart, automated home, whose goal is for dwellers to save time and effort. With the near-ubiquity of Internet access in the home and the Internet-connected devices of all shapes and sizes, the connected home is shaping the future of our interiors. Furthermore, the phenomenon is facilitated by the combination of both home connectivity, protocol standardization, and an ever expanding number of players entering into the market. In the United States, the Smart Home market will boom in the coming years, with revenues expected to reach $30 billion by 2018 and $52 billion by 2020, according to Research and Markets. In Europe, BSRIA said the market will reach 620 million € by 2015. It grew by almost 19% in the period 2010-2012 to reach just over 510 million € and is estimated to grow by 8% in average each year until 2015. Although total automation systems are still the preserve of the wealthiest, the rise of the smartphone, tablets and software apps are making smart home products a reality for many others. Security alarm systems and intelligent thermostats are the most popular categories today, but the trend is spreading to a wide range of products as diverse as light bulbs, home appliances, wall plugs and garage doors. By and large, home buyers still prioritize standard features, like security systems and energy-efficient washer and dryers, but trendier features will soon be more desired.

In the United States, the Smart Home market will boom in the coming years, with revenues expected to reach $30 billion by 2018 and $52 billion by 2020, according to Research and Markets. In Europe, BSRIA said the market will reach 620 million € by 2015. It grew by almost 19% in the period 2010-2012 to reach just over 510 million € and is estimated to grow by 8% in average each year until 2015.

Wearable tech

Wearable technology, fashionable technology, wearable devices, tech togs, and fashion electronics are all different terms to describe clothing and accessories that incorporate advanced electronic technologies while having a purely critical or aesthetic agenda. At the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), wearable technology was a popular topic, and showcased products included smart watches, smart bands, smart jewelry, glasses, and earbuds.

ABI Research forecast 1.2 million smart watches to be shipped in 2013 due to high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low cost of MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem.

The momentum really started on April 16, 2013, with the launch of the Google Glasses, a device that brings rich text and notifications as well as other information straight to your eyes, as well as the companion app, MyGlass. After smartglasses, the next wave of wearable devices expected to hit the market are smartwatches (see the buzz around the new Apple Watch). ABI Research forecast 1.2 million smart watches to be shipped in 2013 due to high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low cost of MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem. Last but not least, wearables have taken a step further with the fashion and luxury industries now giving these tech products a stylish touch through nice design or/and precious materials.

Featured examples

 

Drop

Credit: Drop.com

Credit: Drop.com

Home automation is also – and increasingly – about gadget appliances. Drop is an iPad-connected kitchen scale that works with the company’s exclusive app to ensure home bakers consistently great results using their specially selected interactive recipes. The Drop scale is able to rescale quantities, offer substitutions and share tips. Instead of treating a mixing bowl like a dumb receptacle, Drop detects when enough bread flour or brown sugar has been added to the mix and uses that change in weight as a cue to advance to the next step in the recipe. Drop also knows if its user has made a particular meal before and can remind them to add more spice to a bland recipe or pull popovers out of the oven a few minutes earlier than the app instructs.
Ireland Ireland, June 2014

 

Canary

Revealed at CES 2014, Canary is the latest smart home security system for renters and homeowners. Canary is a single device that contains an HD video camera and multiple sensors that track everything from motion, temperature and air quality to vibration, sound, and activity to help keep people and the home safe. Controlled entirely from an iPhone or Android device, Canary alerts you when it senses anything out of the ordinary — from sudden temperature changes that can indicate a fire, to sound and movement that could mean an intrusion. The user can instantly receive, view and act on the alerts wherever they are through their mobile device. The app also has different modes: “Home”, “Away”, “Privacy” (which stops recording and monitoring) and “Vacation.” Canary already knows when users are home and away, and you have complete control over the vacation and privacy modes.
United States of America United States, January 2014

 

Opening Ceremony

mica-cuff-opening-ceremony

Credit: Openceremony.com

Wearables are finally getting fashionable with the combination of technology and aesthetics. Indeed, the Cuff collection and Mica are the first jewelry wearables that serve as an alert system for family and friends. The Cuff collection consists of unisex products that hide a tiny wireless device, designed to send an alert signal via Bluetooth technology to their contacts. The signal will make the designated cuff vibrate, or will send a push notification to people’s phone with the location of the alert’s sender. MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) is also a consumer wearable smart device that takes the form of a fashion bracelet born out of a collaboration between cult US luxury brand Opening Ceremony and tech giant Intel. Presented at the 2014 New York Fashion Week, Mica boasts snakeskin, semi-precious gemstones and a curved touchscreen display. It also features a built-in wireless radio and can receive alerts and notifications without needing to be linked to a smartphone.
United States of America United States, February & September 2014

 

Apple Watch

Credit: Apple.com

Credit: Apple.com

To date, the Apple Watch features the most advanced features in the world of wearables. This iPhone-compatible watch is not a circular smartwatch like its fashionable rival, Moto 360 by Motorola, but it still features a premium rectangular design and works seamlessly with iOS 8 devices. The gadget beams messages, Facebook updates, simplified apps and Siri to people’s wrists, eliminating the all-too-common need to take out our devices to constantly check notifications. Other apps include iMessages, Health, Calendar, Weather, Mail, Photos, Camera’s shutter button, Passbook that now include Apple Pay and even Apple Maps for navigation. The smartwatch also takes cues from the Nike FuelBand SE and other fitness trackers with health sensors and apps.
United States of America United States, September 2014

 

Google Lens

Credit: Thinkwithgoogle.com

Credit: Thinkwithgoogle.com

Google is launching a glucose-monitoring contact lens that notifies doctors about diabetics’ real time issues, Google announced a partnership with the European drug maker Novartis to develop a smart contact lens with the potential to monitor the wearer’s blood sugar levels. Novartis said it would look to create products from Google’s prototype smart contact lens, which uses miniature sensors and a radio antenna thinner than a human hair to track glucose levels. Information about blood sugar levels, which is particularly useful for people with diabetes, could be uploaded to smartphone devices and used by doctors and patients to monitor the data almost in real time, according to a statement from Google issued when the company released its prototype in January.
United States of America United States, January 2014

 

Dodow

dodow-reveiller-sommeil

Credit: Mydodow.com

French startup LIVLAB has created an innovative and natural solution called Dodow that will help people get to sleep with ease. The device works like a metronome and makes people fall asleep naturally without any medication and with no side effects. The Dodow sleep device projects a halo of blue light on to the ceiling. The user just has to synchronize his breathing with the light: inhale when the beam expands, exhale when it shrinks. This will effectively slow down the metabolism, driving the user to optimal conditions for sleep. The device will then automatically disconnect after 8 minutes.
France France, September 2014

 

iHealth

Credit: Planete-domotique.com

Credit: Planete-domotique.com

Chinese company Xiaomi launched its first healthcare product, a smart blood pressure monitor. The sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure cuff, and accompanying phone dock was made in partnership with US-based iHealth Labs. The device is on sale in China exclusively on Xiaomi’s official website for RMB 199 (US$32). iHealth also sells a blood pressure monitor in Apple stores, which costs RMB 799 (US$130) in China. The app tracks blood pressure, heart rate, average pulse and more on a real-time chart, then makes recommendations for improvement. The doc includes an attached pad which is simply attached to a person’s arm, just like in a hospital, to get things going. The app is then used to operate the device.
China China, September 2014

 

Vigo

Credit: Kickstarter.com

Credit: Kickstarter.com

Vigo is a wearable sensor that detects drowsiness and offers real-time data on wearers’ alertness, boosting their productivity. The device looks much like a typical Bluetooth handsfree headset, except it features an infrared motion sensor and accelerometer that track when users blink and when they move about. During moments when attention lapses, the device can vibrate, flash a discreet LED or start playing a user-selected, high-energy track to boost alertness. Users can also track their performance over time to see when their concentration is at its peak, and Vigo even offers smart recommendations based on their energy levels — such as taking a walk, making a coffee, having a nap or doing some exercise.
United States of America United States, January 2014

 

June by Netatmo

Credit: Netatmo.com

Credit: Netatmo.com

Netatmo’s June, a UV-detecting smart bracelet, registers the sun’s intensity and offers protection recommendations based on each one’s skin type. The “personalized sun-protection coach” consists of a detachable “jewel” sensor that can be worn as a brooch or attached to one of two black wrapping bracelets (one leather and one silicone). Along with those accessories comes an iOS app that connects to the sensor via Bluetooth. When you launch the app, it asks you to describe your skin type, hair color, and eye color, crunches that info, and then uses it to offer daily sun protection recommendations that specify the level of sunscreen SPF you should wear, as well as accessories like hats and sunglasses you should bring along. It’ll also keep track of your daily “sun dosage” to let you know if you’ve been baking outdoors too long.
United States of America United States, January 2014

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Keep an eye on this revolutionary market. Hire “creative technologists”, people who are responsible for detecting the latest product innovations.

2

Create incentives to encourage consumers to sign up to services, such as including the cost of setting up a home network in mortgage and remortgage packages.

3

Ensure consumers can get the most out of the devices and services by providing a joined-up, robust network – and not a piecemeal service. Establish an industry home networking standard to address consumers’ confusion.

4

Capture all the touch points between your brand and your consumers. Connected objects are a new source of data that will inform you about the profile and needs of your target at a specific time. Then learn how to manage and use this data. Think of devices that synchronize various sources of data into easily manageable yet comprehensive streams.

Summary

  • The “smart, connected products” – including cars, watches, refrigerators, glasses and scales so far– are redefining interactions between people and products as they make life easier, unleashing a new way of living.
  • The smart, automated home, made possible with the near-ubiquity of Internet access in the home and the Internet-connected devices, aims for dwellers to save time and effort.
  • Wearables are clothing and accessories that incorporate computer and advanced electronic technologies but may also have a purely critical or aesthetic agenda. The most popular so far are smartglasses and smartwatches.
  • Between 2010 and 2012, the number of connected gadget went from 4 to 15 billion according to Idate, a digital-focused think tank.

Experts that we recommend

eric-sadin Eric Sadin
French writer & philosopher, author of book L’humanité augmentée. L’administration numérique du monde (L’Echappée, 2013)
Stephane Hugon Stephane Hugon
French research scientist at CeaQ/Sorbonne and ENSAD (Arts Décos Paris), and associate director of Eranos
jeremy-rifkin Jérémy Rifkin
American economist & sociologist, author of book The Zero Marginal Cost Society (Palgrave Macmillann Trade, 2014)