The Connected Home
Consider these facts1 –
- The amount of data stored is doubling every 18 months
- Wearable devices have grown by 2x month-over-month since October 2012
- The connected home segment will grow at a CAGR of 50% between 2012 and 2017 to reach 10.7 million shipments in five years
The pace of global digitization is quite frankly, mind-blowing. The explosion of digital technology has permeated enterprises, schools, space and now, it seems the next big area to fundamentally transform by digital innovation is a lot closer to home. In fact, it is home.
The ‘Internet of Everything’ describes the idea that ordinary objects can be connected to the internet, enabling a highly integrated and connected world. As the cost to produce sensors and wireless technologies falls, devices that ‘talk’ to one another may soon become the norm in our homes. Imagine a world in which your refrigerator knows when you’re running low on milk and sends you a notification (or better yet, alerts your Fresh Direct account for immediate delivery). Or a world in which your wearable device knows when you wake up and alerts the coffee maker to turn on and the shower to set to a certain temperature. While we’re not quite there yet, several innovations in this space have caught the public’s attention. Nest, a connected thermostat that learns the user’s heating and cooling preferences and programs itself accordingly, caught public attention when its parent company was purchased by Google for $3.2B in January 2014, a major indication of Google’s interest in the connected home space.
Another company doing some interesting things in the space is Canary, a NYC-based startup making a smart home security system. Unlike traditional security systems which require complicated installation and are entirely static, Canary is a small sensor-laden device which connects with your smartphone and allows you to check on your home from a distance. Setup simply requires the user to plug it in, connect to the home network, and download an iOS or Android app for monitoring. After shattering fundraising goals on Indigogo, Canary raised a $10 million Series A led by Khosla Ventures. VC investment in this space will undoubtedly increase over the next few years.
While all of this is quite exciting, the proliferation of connected devices poses huge security concerns. A tremendous amount of data will be produced as our lives are further integrated by connected devices, raising questions around privacy and security. Imagine what a savvy hacker could do if he knew your daily schedule or movement around your home. The ability to remotely control devices could open a host of malicious opportunities for electronic intruders.
I’m curious to see just how quickly connected devices alter our homes and lives. I’m also curious to see if any one ‘platform’ will emerge as the primary hub for independently manufactured devices to connect with each other in the home. What do you think? How soon until we live in a Jetsons-esque world?
1) SAP 99 Quotes on the Future of Innovation for 2014 and Beyond: http://www.slideshare.net/metamorphbiz/99-quotes-on-the-future-of-innovation-for-2014-and-beyond