Evolution, not revolution – The demand for M2M
The Internet of Things (IoT) has created a lot of buzz in recent years, and it is clearly the most high profile of currently emerging technology trends, blending the physical and online worlds.
However, media buzz does not always necessarily correlate with consumer interest, so just how interested are people in adopting these emerging technologies into their everyday lives?
To find out, element14 recently commissioned a global survey of 3,500 consumers, aiming to unearth what consumer attitudes towards IoT – and the other key technology trends of 2015 – were, in order to better understand inform engineers’ designs and development processes.
The research, carried out in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and India, revealed a wealth of regional statistics, but it was immediately apparent that healthcare was regarded as consumers’ top area of interest for technology and innovation, regardless of what trend was being discussed, across all regions.
By drilling down further in to the responses, however, we found a general trend that people are not looking for IoT applications to deliver adventurous, ground-breaking new innovations. Rather, the core drivers for interest are solutions that make existing technologies and tasks easier. Popular examples given include connected burglar alarms, automatic car engine maintenance and smart TVs.
Perhaps more interestingly, however, was the fact that two thirds of our respondents said the ‘thing’ they most want to connect to the internet was their own body (specifically, ‘themselves’). This makes sense when taken in conjunction with their desire for solutions that facilitate existing technologies and tasks: wearables devices like FitBit are already a popular product amongst consumers.
There are also a number of interesting geographical and demographical nuances to these findings that are worth considering.
Despite many products already being on the market, questions remain in the media over exactly how much demand there is for smart watches. Our research found that global demand for the dese devices is actually being driven by Asia – but, even then, only a third of those surveyed said they plan to buy one within the next five years.
Europe, meanwhile, remains concerned over the privacy concerns that the Internet of Things poses. This is most noticeable where applications impact upon children, or involves some intrusion upon their body. Whilst fewer than half (48%) of respondents would allow a chip to be implanted in their body, an even smaller number than this – 29% – would want to use a smart plaster that can read and relay temperature readings on their child.
But there’s better news for the entertainment industry, which is perhaps already one of the larger Internet of Things sectors on the market today. A staggering 85% of people said they either own, or plan to soon own, a smart television. Meanwhile the general trend was for entertainment technology to be considered important across the globe, but more so in Germany than anywhere else.
Overall, it is clear that consumers have a strong interest in Internet of Things technologies and can see how they will be beneficial.
However, people are looking for low-cost, practical technologies that can enhance their existing routines and lives, rather than exciting and adventurous IoT applications that will revolutionise them.
As a result it’s no surprise that the areas where M2M technology has the potential to improve existing technologies – such as automatic car engine maintenance and smart TVs – are seeing immediate consumer demand.
By Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community, element14