With all its potential, the Internet of Things has problems.
The single biggest one of these relates to privacy. This came into sharp focus last year when a smart TV producer revealed that their products were always on and could easily record private conversations. If the servers housing those recordings were hacked, it could put a variety of sensitive information into the hands of extremely unsavory people.
Late last year, recordings made by an Amazon Echo were requested to help in a murder investigation, which marks the start of a disturbing trend. This trend has consumers increasingly rejecting smart devices.
In theory, smart devices are fantastic, especially when several are chained together. Your thermostat can track your comings and goings, only activating when people are home. Your blinds can be tied into the system, opening and closing based on your patterns of movement inside your home. Lights can learn to turn on and off automatically via the same principles, and cumulatively, these things working seamlessly, in tandem, can save you a tremendous amount of money.
The problem, though, is that the data required to make all that function has to be stored somewhere, which means it is at risk. Further, device manufacturers cannot survive simply by selling their smart products. They need to charge subscription fees to make up the difference, and customers have, so far, not expressed much interest in paying to expose their data to risk of theft.
Given that the industry is still in its infancy, this reluctance poses an existential threat. Until and unless smart device manufacturers can come up with some way to offer their products at attractive prices, guarantee the security of the data they collect to make those products function, and charge subscription-based fees low enough that they don’t push their small customer base away, the future of the smarthome is very much in doubt.
This, of course, represents an enormous opportunity for the right company. Perhaps for your company.