The last year or so has been really busy for the Internet of Things. Tons of new and exciting IoT products have debuted but these products still remain on the fringe of true success. There are of course a few household names that have been able to break through: Nest, Fit Bit and Phillips Hue to name a few. There are a couple of struggles beneath the shiny veneer of success that some companies products enjoy.
Part of the problem is that the IoT world lacks a common protocol for these devices to connect to each other. Sure, there are a few of them that exist to try and simplify things like ZigBee, NFC and Bluetooth. There are even a couple of newcomers trying to claim their piece of the pie. One of them is called AllJoyn, AllJoyn is a group of companies representing a smart bulb standard that would allow their products to connect to each other and other home devices. The other is called Thread, the brainchild of Nest, Samsung, ARM, Big Ass Fans and a couple of others. This networking protocol differs from the others in that it has security and low power features. These little battles between protocols is reminiscent of the HD DVD and BluRay standoff of yore. Eventually there can only be one that is supported by all of the companies that make IoT devices.
The other problem is the cost of development for these devices. Yes, there have been improvements in getting those costs down and companies like Intel, Broadcom and IBM offer several products to help ease creators into being able to afford to develop new devices. Products like Intel’s Edison which is priced around $50 and Broadcom’s WICED sense board that sells for $20. The barrier to entry is being lowered more with every passing month and with it, fostering more growth within the IoT market. But more needs to be done in the coming years if we’re going to see widespread adoption.
More co-operation between companies and the people that use their products in development is a step in right direction. IBM has what it calls “Recipes” for connecting chips and devices to its various partners products already on offer. This type of involvement will help foster healthy growth in the acceptance and development of the Internet of Things.