In these early days of the Internet of Things (IoT), much of the focus has been on industrial applications, such as improving operations with autonomous machines, or standalone consumer products, like a Fitbit. But from our research, we’re seeing a more human-centric category of IoT activity starting to emerge. It’s less about automation and more about personal augmentation; less about individual devices and more about “living services” that let people program and connect smart devices however they want.
For instance, using one of these living services, I might connect my car to my smart garage door opener, which I’ve connected to my smart lock, which activates my smart thermostat that I’ve synced to my smart lighting system. I can program them all to simultaneously interact and do their jobs when I turn onto my driveway. My experience of coming home is enhanced, since everything is acting according to my preferences.
We did an open-source analysis of IoT user behavior, looking at 1,000 IoT technology platforms and services and more than 279,000 early adopter interactions with IoT devices. We found that consumers want an IoT that provides personalized services that can be adapted to different contexts. As with the Industrial IoT, the human IoT promises to be transformative.
The data show that the most heavily used IoT programs are ones that make home life easier, more distinctive, and more pleasant. Respondents also show a big preference for services that don’t require them to go out of their way to make something work. People using the Internet of Things increasingly prefer interfaces that are more natural and less visible (and attention-sapping) than screens. In other words, they don’t want to type instructions on a tablet, interact with a device, or mess with settings on a cell phone to get what they want. Instead, they value these technologies as “living services” that anticipate their wants and act on them.Read more