Consumers are starting to entertain the idea of the connected home, but for the moment at least, the television is still the center of attention.
According to consumer research firm Parks Associates' president, Stuart Sikes, consumers are responding to devices and systems that are intuitive. "Solutions which simply work are the ones that simply sell," he explains. In many cases that means that interoperability is lower on the list of criteria, for the moment at least, although progress in this area is taking shape.
For now it's devices, services and systems that deliver entertainment that are the ones that are proving to be the most popular. Market reseracher Juniper Research on Tuesday forecast that consumer spend on smart home services—that's everything from health and energy management to home automation—will pass the $100 billion mark before the end of the decade, more than double the $43 billion expected to have been invested by the end of 2015.
Its latest white paper highlights how services like Netflix and Spotify are acting as Trojan horses for the Internet of Things. They work across devices—from TVs to soundbars—and the growing numbers of simple-to-use set-top boxes are helping create momentum.
But set-top boxes come with a remote control, a familiar interface, but one that other devices longing for a place in the home can't just appropriate. According to Juniper Research's Steffen Sorrell, new devices will have to use voice and gesture control if they're to succeed, as will attracting developers:"Tapping the developer community to innovate and address the wider market remains an issue."
And that's what the AllSeen Alliance is trying to do. The biggest cross-industry group working towards a unified Internet of Things platform and a common language for developers to build innovative and intuitive apps, it is addressing the myriad challenges that are preventing a multi-billion dollar industry from becoming a multi-trillion dollar business. The alliance claims there is already an ecosystem of 50 billion IoT devices ready to communicate with each other, but only if all companies are on the same page. Hence the introduction on Tuesday of the AllJoyn Certified Program, that can test new devices and services for interoperability and give them a seal of approval.
"Ensuring that products work together is fundamentally the most important part of creating the IoT ecosystem," said Philip DesAutels, PhD, Senior Director of IoT, AllSeen Alliance. "The new AllJoyn Certified program sets the stage for interoperability. Instead of struggling to build hardware, companies will be able to focus on product differentiation, recurring service revenue and creating truly amazing IoT experiences. We all know that mobile and cloud apps and devices that don't work as expected are not an ecosystem."