The Internet of Things (IoT) has introduced a whole new world in which humans can connect with technology more closely than ever. Recent developments in this space leave room for business to capitalize on the advantages IoT affords to interact with customers in new, more meaningful ways.
Fourteen entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share how they see the Internet of Things shaping how consumers interact with technology over the course of the next five years.
1. Voice will be the new user interface.
The IoT will fundamentally change the way consumers interact with nearly everything in their lives. Whether at home, at the office or in the car, voice control will lead this charge as our voices become the new user interface. Instead of touching a button in our car, we'll just say a command. Instead of using our phone to play music through a bluetooth speaker, we'll just ask Alexa (Amazon's voice service) to play our favorite song. Currently, users can tell Alexa to turn off their lights, call an Uber or even turn off their doorbell so a delivery person doesn't wake up a napping baby. This will continue to expand into every area of our lives as products add voice capability and create a web of interconnected products that are waiting for us to tell them what to do. - Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell
2. We'll talk to machines the way we talk to people.
The IoT will have the same effect on everyday machines like refrigerators and cars as it's had on search engines and mobile devices. Google searches used to be very sterile and precise; now, everyone types (or speaks) to Google just like they would a person. The same goes for Siri, Alexa and other AI assistants. The IoT will make it possible for us to virtually eliminate mundane shopping tasks, like ordering more milk before we run out, while also eliminating minor frustrations, like getting lost or forgetting to bring an umbrella. Everything will be controlled by voice (essentially meaning we're always surrounded by connected technology), giving us the ability to simply instruct everything around us to help make our lives more convenient. - Brittany Hodak, ZinePak
3. A continuous, connected loop will be established.
I see a future where we are always connected to the internet, which will become increasingly easier to leverage to execute commands and get information. For instance, your voice--either connected to Siri or Alexa or some other IoT technology--will be able to control virtually all household electronics and systems whether home or away. On your way home from the office, picture telling your smart watch, wearable, phone or connected vehicle to turn on the fireplace, pre-heat the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and playing "Frank Sinatra" in the dining room. You'll also be able to control your vehicle by voice and leverage the IoT (like I already do in my Tesla) to search for recipes, schedule meetings, and check e-mail, which will be read to you. The IoT will keep us connected in one continuous loop. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
4. We'll stop calling it "IoT."
In coming years, the Internet of Things will blur the product-service line as hardware and software engineering become one. Soon, salespeople won't just sell products; they'll sell access to entire communities. Additionally, we'll stop calling it "IoT" by 2020. The interconnectivity and service layer will become a standard feature, just like we now expect our televisions to be flat-screens. - Tony Scherba, Yeti
5. Personalization will be a point of parity.
With more and more advancements within the IoT popping up around every corner, it will become a point of parity or a requirement of sorts for companies of all kinds, within any industry, to make their offerings personalized to each user. Consumers are now seeking out products and services that allow them to make their experience with each brand personal and suited to their interests. Soon enough it will not be surprising if a brand's product offering is not accepted because it does not tune in to customers and their needs, goals, lifestyle, location, family life, and so much more. - Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
6. We will make decisions faster.
It will drastically change the way consumers view technology. As we start to put together more data points and knowledge, we will be able to get exactly what we want faster. A lot of results come out of that--you'll potentially be able to get the most relevant information and make decisions faster. - Jayna Cooke, EVENTup
7. Smart shopping will change e-commerce.
Today, most eCommerce takes place in apps and web storefronts. Over the next five years, that will change. Connected fridges, homes, speakers (like Amazon's Echo), and conversational interfaces will begin to dominate, fundamentally changing the way consumers interact with retail platforms. Merchants will have to change the way they think about promotion, recommendations, and up/cross-selling. - Vik Patel, Future Hosting
8. Security will improve.
The internet has already begun to track our behavior, but as IoT continues to evolve, I envision much more secure connectivity. For instance, home surveillance products such as Canary and Nest provide internet-enabled security products that allow you to quickly be notified of home disturbance, including fire, changes in air quality, and unauthorized intruders. New advances in iris authentication technology by companies such as EyeLock are working to make devices, home, automotive, and banking more secure and nearly impossible to breach. Fingerprint technology provides yet another way to provide greater security in an IoT world. - Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com
9. Technology will become invisible to consumers.
It's not so much how users will interact with technology, but how businesses will make their technology simple and seamless, so consumers become less and less aware they are interacting with home automation technology. When grandma can use IoT technology, that will mean the platform design maximizes the user experience and technology has become a normal part of life, much like smartphones have. - Dan Golden, Be Found Online
10. Smarter environments will be built.
The IoT will help make our environments smarter. Imagine, for instance, sitting at a bus stop, and you're suddenly connected to the bus's GPS system, and it's updating you on its location in real time, and then that data is being projected by traffic patterns and congestion so you can get an accurate estimate of your commute time to work. All of this is happening while, behind closed doors, your phone is tracking your overall travel time and weighing that against your time driving to work in your smart, connected car to give you comparison tables that tell you which is the most efficient way to travel, on which days, under which circumstances. IoT has the potential to completely change how we operate on a day-to-day basis. - Blair Thomas, First American Merchant
11. Health consciousness will grow.
IoT has already made it easy for people to track their physical activity. Health and wellness will continue to be a significant trend in IoT, whether it's monitoring aging family members that live alone or at a distance, being notified of when to take your medication, or checking in on the baby to see how he or she is doing. But for this to happen, comfort level with technology needs to grow, and I think this will happen in the next five years. - Ismael Wrixen, FE International
12. The phone will become a command center.
The phone, now being used as a payment and identification device too, will begin to represent even more to the average person as it becomes the command chair for most functions in their lift. I can forsee a future where you'll be using your phone to unlock your home, set and launch your home appliances and manage automated schedules. Your phone will be your lifeline to modifying most parts of your existence. I guess we'll all have to be a lot more careful about not losing them. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate
13. More automation will reduce human error.
The IoT opens the door for hundreds of new technology products to automate everything about your daily life. We're moving to a time where voice control and controllers like the Amazon Echo or Apple's new HomeKit will manage most of our functions at home. The future is in what technologies surface for business or enterprise level automation. - Justin Sachs, Motivational Press
14. Computers will tell us what to buy.
As the technology for tracking human behavior and buying patterns improves we will see IoT tell us what we need to buy. No longer will marketers rely on banner ads or popups based off a website we visited. With this shift, marketing will be completely relevant where no prospective customer is served an advertisement that doesn't 100 percent align with their interests, behaviors and past purchases. - Anthony Davani, Kreoo/The Davani Group