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TechSpy @ CES 2015: The Internet of Things

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.

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Syko1976d ago

Another note I wanted to touch on is that being in the market for a 4k TV in the next year or so. I am really holding out until the connectivity standard is locked down such as HDMI 2.* or whatever it is they settle on. Buying a 4k TV now manufactures are offering "Future proofing" and upgrades to whatever future standard is settled on. However being as I bought my last TV before the 3D boom my TV was 3D Ready and promised future proofing...I can assure you after 7 years this never came to fruition and I don't see the 4k future proofing going any different once you purchase the set. They have your money and it's not in their interest to support your product when they can strong arm you into purchasing a new set.

I don't see anything going any different with IoT. Even with Samsung promising an Open Ecosystem. That TV I spoke of was a Samsung. I guess we will see but I have an eyebrow raised on all this "Open Ecosystem" talk...

Would love to hear from users outside the US though as I always feel that I have a hard time being on the 48 State Island and fully grasping what others around the world might be seeing as far as infrastructure and technology moving forward.

ZoyosJD1974d ago

I'd like to see SuperMHL and USB type-C become the standard across the board as they really are future proof (and reversible, YAY!).

A truly connected home, for the average consumer, is still years away, but it's nice to see it has began.

Crazay1970d ago

My father in law is kinda int he same boat as you. He's looking to buy himself a retirement gift in the form of a new TV but right now the options are staggering. Given that little is available in 4K, does he bite the bullet and get 4K with the hope that more content is available in that format?
What does he gain from a curved versus a flat? The price difference is not insignificant. in my mind he's better off saving the money and bypassing the curved screen because I just can't see what the purpose is.

ajax171972d ago

I really don't like the idea of everything being connected. Too many security and privacy concerns. The connected car thing is definitely a huge double edged sword situation too. I don't like the idea that someone could hack my car, but at the same time some of the things one can do is very cool. Such as Ford's Sync with all the voice controlled stuff. When it comes to my vehicles though, I ultimately prefer good old analog.

Stringerbell1969d ago

Yeah remember the whole idea about Michale Hastings being killed because his car was supposedly hacked? Scary stuff indeed.

Spiewie 1959d ago

Yeah I think that improving car connectivity is going to be a big thing with people wanting to take their modern day conveniences everywhere they go. The whole idea of self driving cars is another valid reason for this improvement, as Syko said the car is going to do the driving so we'll have to occupy ourselves with something else. I think tat there are a few negatives of having this modern technology in cars. Firstly we have the risk of hacking making it potentially easy to get into cars and as Phoceenatic mentioned the new method of risking human life. Secondly computers can also make mistakes and need to be updated regularly adding to the risk, last but not least what about the pleasure of driving ? I know that some people may not enjoy it but I love a bit of driving here and there. Moving away from the cars and onto the TV topic. I bought myself a 32 inch LG smart tv for my game room over the Summer and I''m in no rush to move onto 4K or 3D. The technology keeps on improving so it's best to wait a bit until they reach the best resolution possible which doesn't seem to be too far away. I'm also not a big fan of 3D or best resolution hunter so my next TV investment will have to wait for 2 or 3 years. I do enjoy using the smart TV functions which can be obtained at reasonable prices.

coolbeans1956d ago

Interesting info here, Syko.

I'm in line with what others are saying in the risks involved with hacking cars and such. Plus, driving is such an enjoyable task for me already that I'd have no use for letting computer take over.

"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."

But isn't Samsung's probably-patented tech still getting them cents on the dollar for each of those cheap products sold anyways? If so, it might be a best of both worlds for consumers interested in IoT stuff and the companies.

Speed-Racer1955d ago (Edited 1954d ago )

Clearly not enough people are interested in winning money. Send it my way if no one wants to claim a prize :P

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