Everyday objects that can send and receive data have started to enter our homes. This new development of the Internet is what we call the ‘Internet of Things’.
This new megatrend has already started to attract leading digital players such as Google, Amazon and Samsung as well as a vast ecosystem of start-ups. This burgeoning industry is expected to know a tremendous growth in the coming years, from 2 billion connected objects in 2006 to a projected 200 billion by 2020 (1). This represents in average of 26 smart objects for every human being on the planet!
By 2025, the total global worth of IoT technology could be as much as USD 6.2 trillion mainly in manufacturing and healthcare. (2)
Security companies have grasped this opportunity by developing biometric and facial recognition cameras, digital locks, remote sensors alarm, etc. But with security system being controlled remotely, cyber security becomes a critical risk. The security industry is shifting its focus from the physical defence and hardware to the software and encryption of communication.
At Methys, we’ve worked with IDS Technologies to create one of the first connected alarm systems in South Africa that can be remotely controlled by a smartphone. The smart alarm is linked to a companion Android application that allow users to generate temporary access codes to share with friends and employees. It also alerts users if an alarm is triggered and needs to be disabled.
This challenging project has allowed us to deploy our expertise in term of hardware integration and secure data communication. Despite, usual UI challenges involved in developing a very innovative product, one of the key obstacles we encountered in this project was the lack of communication standards between the hardware and the software. This is an issue that has been raised across the IoT industry and players such as Microsoft, Intel and Samsung are working together to create an IoT standards group: the Open Connectivity Foundation.
Today, the IoT sector still faces many technical and ecosystem challenges but the opportunity for growth outweigh them. The few pioneer companies that explore the new interactions involved with these new connected objects are in the same situation than those who bet on application development after the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. The Internet of Things may be on the cusp of an even a greater technological jump considered that we are now better equipped in term of electronic devices and have access to better network infrastructure.
Read more on the IDS project.
(1) Intel, IDC, United Nations, 2013
(2) Strategy Analytics M2M Strategies advisory service, McKinsey Global Institute, NYTimes.com.