Once, it was just our desktops and laptops that connected to the internet.
Then it was iPhones and Apple Watches, followed by our smart TVs, smart fridges, and speakers from Google and Amazon.
Today, virtually every product we buy can be made ‘smart’ and offer added functionality, from kettles and alarm systems to light bulbs and self-driving cars. In 2023, spending on IoT devices is expected to grow $1.1 trillion, continuing the increased growth rate year-over-year and unlocking new opportunities for businesses and developers wanting to capitalise on the trend.
It’s expected there will be an eye-watering 50 billion IoT devices worldwide by 2050 – right now, the average UK home contains nine connected devices and counting.
To make sure your brand maximises the growth of IoT and unlocks opportunities for engagement and sales, we’ve put together trend expectations for the year ahead.
Cross-platform IoT support
Perhaps one of the most exciting developments to keep an eye on in 2023 is the rise of cross-platform support for IoT devices. This year, both Apple and Google adopted Matter support, which means IoT devices from Google, Amazon, Samsung and other brands can finally be controlled via Apple’s HomeKit framework, and vice versa with Google.
As more brands and developers follow suit, we’ll see the Internet of Things open up. Gone are the days of certain products being locked behind particular apps or operating systems. Instead, convenience will be prioritised for brands and users.
Apple’s Matter implementation includes “innovative privacy and security technologies and techniques designed to put users in control of their smart home experience and further interoperability between apps and ecosystems,” the company said in a statement earlier in the year. For developers, Xcode now features Matter SDK in its entirety. The truth is many existing IoT devices won’t be compatible with Matter, but as technologies are introduced, the irritating barriers will come down once and for all.
The metaverse comes into its own
We’ve heard about the value and importance of the metaverse for several years now, but consumers aren’t biting just yet.
However, in the coming year, brands will need to work hard to bridge the gap between the real and virtual worlds and use IoT devices to speak to their customers in new ways. Apple is reportedly on the verge of launching an augmented/virtual reality headset that will no doubt change the way we communicate and interact with content.
Facebook has doubled its spending on the metaverse in an attempt to encourage brands and consumers across.
Right now, the most apparent benefactor of the metaverse is retail: consumers can step foot in virtual shopping malls and enjoy once-traditional purchasing experiences in new ways.
Away from B2C, metaverse technology like VR headsets can be used to experiment with new in-store experiences and gain a deeper understanding of how they work and how adjusting variables can boost conversions.
Don’t expect the metaverse to take over in 2023, but do expect it to become more of a viable sales and engagement strategy. Early adopters will likely be rewarded as the sector grows.
Security becomes a hot topic
We’re relying on technology to make our lives easier and more convenient, but as the number of devices we use balloons, so does the security threat. In the first six months of the year, there were more than 1.51 billion IoT breaches, and experts will need to work hard to outmanoeuvre cyberattacks and keep their customer’s data out of harm’s reach.
As a software developer for IoT devices, it’s vitally important that security is at the fore: failing to protect customers’ data could result in severe fines and a permanently damaged reputation.
In the United States, officials are reportedly working to standardise security labelling on IoT devices so consumers and brands can make better decisions when purchasing, upgrading, and replacing technology. In the UK, we expect to hear more about the upcoming Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PTSI) bill, designed to protect consumers.
As a brand, there are lots of things that you can do to protect your IoT devices from harm, including the following:
- Installing patches and OS updates regularly or turning on auto-updates
- Using strong password practices for all connected devices
- Opting for multi-factor authentication
- Disabling items that aren’t regularly used
- Developing an IoT device policy for your workplace
- Monitoring network devices and taking action if compromised
- Encrypting data that is transmitted between connected devices
The growth of IoT in healthcare
IoT devices are advancing modern healthcare. Next year, the healthcare IoT market is expected to top $267 billion, with wearable devices and in-home sensors making the most dramatic difference in lowering costs and improving patient well-being. As healthcare bodies struggle with rising costs and grapple with staff shortages, IoT will play an even more significant role and allow hospitals to create “virtual wards” where patients can be overseen from their homes with a smart device. And for consumers, wearable devices like Apple Watches and Fitbits offer valuable insights into health and fitness.
Check back to the Zudu blog regularly for more tips and tricks on IoT devices.