Billions of connected devices will require thousands of applications to manage the transmission, reception, distribution, and sharing of this immense amount of data. In any fast emerging market there are fast emerging solutions; LoRa, Xigbee, Alljoyn, OIC, IIC, Z Wave, Thread, IPv6 and many more.
Adaptation and consumer value of connected devices will be driven by the user’s overall experience and benefit to all this great data now capable of being shared. Today the largest benefactors of IoT are from tracking objects, even if it’s just themselves, and utility scale telemetry. Smart Homes are projected to be the largest market segment representing over 3.5 billion devices by 2020, followed by smart building at 1.7 billion, then general industry at 1.5 billion, medical and transport at 400 million each.
The money typically leads a market. With homes and commercial buildings being a primary driver in connected devices the most likely connectivity protocol will be wi-fi and Bluetooth connected devices. This is primary driven by our current devices in which we’ve grown very dependent on. The average US home has 6 mobile devices, the average UK home has 7.
The carriers are pushing hard to build out the IoT market with LTE standards while these same subscription based services are driving the market towards other solutions such as wi-fi and Bluetooth. The question is do you really want to pay a subscription package fee per month to connect your fridge to your toaster? I feel adaption of IoT within the home will be driven by the manufacturers in incorporating connective capabilities that leverage the most common free accessible tools available. A majority of the protocols out there today are dependent on the LTE subscription based services. Similar to the web the IoT space in order to evolve will need one common protocol and like the web it will be difficult to charge a subscription fee within a culture already expecting free connectivity.
An important factor in determining the most promising standard protocol will depend greatly on its ability to handle the projected billions of devices soon to be talking to each other. Major networks are already planning for that future. Cellular has 5G just around the corner with carriers already separating out their networks into mobile and IoT sectors allowing for lower band allocation to IoT devices and IPv6 available today is gaining fast ground allowing for substantial increase in networkable IP based devices.
There are approximately 57 major US cities with citywide free wi-fi connectivity with a user base of less than 2%. Will this not be 200 cities in the next 5 years and open access means a new opportunity for free device connectivity.