Skydrop have created a zero-configuration, learning watering system that works by paying attention to the weather. You can think of it as a Nest for your garden. Wireless charging over long distances continues to garner investment and credibility. Witricity magnetically transfers energy over 15ft (approx. 4.5 metres) and even has the ability to add passive repeaters. This could eliminate all those cords and charge packs in our homes.
The value propositions for consumer IoT tend to focus on peace of mind (security), energy savings, and convenience, each of which has direct relevance to the enterprise. As we saw smartphones drive the trend to BYOD we will see a range of consumer IoT devices blow-back into the enterprise, changing the way we work.
Brain Transplants for Things
Many companies at CES 2015 are neatly integrating intelligence into existing dumb things. This trend underscores the potential of the Internet of Things to improve our quality of life by augmenting things we already find in our physical worlds with digital intelligence.
For example, Roost make a battery for your smoke alarm that sends you a message when the alarm goes off in the event that you are not home; and instead of simply chirping when the battery is low it sends you a message to change your battery. Another example are light bulbs that fit into standard sockets, that are not just a programmable lights but include speakers (AWox), cameras, projectors (Panasonic prototype), and combined light/occupancy sensors (the Alba by Stack). Perhaps some of these will find their way into a meeting room near you.
A Technology or Motor Show?
10 years ago there were no automakers at CES. This year, there were more than 10 major automakers present including Ford, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Chrysler and Mazda (among others). Many of these made some major announcements, and not without good reason. Owing to the growing middleclass across the world their addressable market stands to grow significantly in the coming decades. By 2030 the worldwide the middle class will double and if history is anything to go by, most, if not all will own a car. Consequently, by 2025 (just ten years away) the number of cars on the road globally, is expected to increase by 20%.
On display were a range of assisted driving and driverless cars showing how automakers and technology companies are working together like never before. The number and diversity of vendors providing autonomous driving capabilities was surprising – including automakers and technology companies such as NVidia, Bosch, QNX, Sony, and Nokia. Google said it plans to bring its driverless car to market by 2020 and the Mercedes driverless car was particularly impressive. It supports both manual and autonomous operation with four lounge chairs that can be rotated to allow face-to-face conversations when the car is in autonomous drive mode – your own mobile meeting space.
When it comes to driverless cars, the top three consumer concerns are safety/security, functionality/comfort, and productivity (when stuck in traffic). To help understand this, the Ford motor company is running mobility experiments across the world. Who would have thought 5 years ago the top feature of a new automobile would be touch-less interfaces. This is the case with the VW Golf Touch – ironic name.
Not withstanding regulations, this technology should converge in a way that will see people productively working in a safe and responsible manner from an automobile within the next five years.
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