When we wrote about the smart home back in October last year, we talked about how the smart home was very much still under development, being at the start of the Gartner hype cycle. Seven months on, we have witnessed the showcasing of the latest connected technologies at exhibitions such as CES in Las Vegas and Mobile World Congress and can well and truly say the connected tomorrow we talked about in 2014 is now actually here.
Today, there are hundreds of products available on the market that will make your home a smart one. From the kitchen to the garage it would seem every room in the house will be getting the connected device treatment. Analysts predict that by 2017, there will be more than 800 million smart TVs and by 2020, 90 per cent of cars will be connected to the internet in comparison to 10 per cent in 2012. In fact, Gartner recently predicted that 1.1 billion connected things will be used by smart cities this year with smart homes and smart commercial buildings representing 45 per cent of total connected things in use.
There’s no question the hype around Internet of Things is building with everyone rushing to be the first to see the next amazing device. Yet while the pace has picked up around the number of devices available to consumers since we last wrote about this topic, the issue around paying closer attention to the connectivity infrastructure that supports how these devices communicate with one another remains the same.
This plethora of connected devices will generate huge amounts of data, putting a huge strain on bandwidth demand as communication from all these small devices moves through the Internet to the cloud to the data centre. All of this information needs to be received, stored, computed, aggregated, and redistributed in real-time and there is no time for a bottleneck which slows down the data traffic flowing through the network. At present, most data centres are built to meet comparatively modest storage and bandwidth requirements, but for the smart home to be successful, the issues we discussed in our previous blog around connectivity are still an important factor.
But companies looking to capitalise on the smart home opportunity should not only see this as a chance to get their ‘infrastructure house’ in order, they should also see this rise in connected devices as an opportunity to collaborate and share resources to grow in the Internet of Things environment. By coming together in data centres with companies in similar sectors, they can benefit from fast and low-cost interconnectivity – which will be crucial in facilitating the quality on-demand experience consumers want.
The connected home is here and it’s going to continue picking up pace so we need to be ready for it.