Here at CES one thing has been made clear since the jump. The connectivity of your smartphone is of little use when everything around it might as well be out of the 80's in terms of internet connectivity and overall so called "smart" devices. The answer to this problem seems to revolve around sensors...sensors everywhere.
Kicking off CES 2015 was Boo-Keun Yoon the CEO of Samsung. During the keynote, within the first few minutes Samsung goal was clear. IoT, The Internet of Things. A full hour dedicated to it in fact. Connecting devices is at the forefront of Samsung moving forward and they made clear that in order to work the system had to be open.
By 2017, 90% of Samsung devices will be IoT devices. Yoon also said by 2020 Samsung plans to make that 100%. He also mentioned that Samsung put 665 million products into consumers hands last year to the tune of 20 products/sec. While this number is impressive the more important part was that Samsung pledged to keep all devices moving forward "Open to Developers".
Moving to the show floor over the past few days, It was clear that this was more than a vision Samsung had. It is a movement within the industry to capitalize on the tiny computers in your pocket. On the bright side this can open up a whole new world of convenience and control in day to day tasks... However it is hard for me not to be pessimistic and see a world that is still "This is ours" "That is there's" "Ours is better" type control scheme as there is not nearly as much money for a company when all products can access the same infrastructure. I mean you don't have to look too far beyond Netflix to see that company's want direct control over the consumer in the supply chain, or else every Movie/TV Show would be available.
Before I go scorched earth on why I believe in my heart of hearts why this is still many, many years away. I would like to touch on the products and connectivity that was displayed on the show floor to back up this future of The Internet of Things.
Leading the charge of IoT is the Auto industry. Nearly all of the top auto makers are focused on connecting the car to the individual. This includes everything from the heads up display, to connecting to the drivers smart home. To me the push in the auto industry seems to be driven by a sole factor. Autonomous driving cars. The reason I believe this is it's clear that once cars are driving themselves for the most part, what separates the cars from one another. The answer is in the comfort and in-car connectivity offered. Let's be honest if the car is driving itself what are you likely to be doing...You will be doing something and most likely everything online while the car handles the mundane task of your daily commute. The industry seems to be aware of this fact and is leading the push to have the technology ready for when that day arrives.
Lagging behind a bit is the smart home. After all what good is the genius car if you still have to push a button to let it in your dumb home. Fear not. There are plenty of devices pushing to get into your home from the garage door opener to the toaster. Many of the ready for market technologies seem to focus on the noticeable areas of the house, such as lighting and major appliances like the Fridge, Cooktop and HVAC system. Again all with the focus of tailoring and automating everyday tasks to the user with very little micro management.
Back to the doom and gloom for a bit though. I can't help but feel that Samsung's vision of an "Open Ecosystem" of smart devices is a long shot in the world today. Company's are slaves to their shareholders and they demand absolute monetary growth year after year with little to no consideration of what's good for the consumer. Opening devices across the board would seemingly just lead to a Wal-Mart style price race where the cheapest product that connects would be good enough for most people, and that would be bad for the bottom line. Unless this future somehow breaks the mold of our current economic climate I feel we are many, many years away from a truly all encompassing Smart Internet of Things...
Plus what good will all this technology and connectivity do, when my damn smartphone is constantly in the death throws of imminent battery shutdown. The future is bright, but there are many, many hurdles beyond the hardware at this time.