Posted on September 12, 2016
The Internet of Things in Australia is set to change our lives.
The future is coming, and it’s connected. A new report from consumer insights service Telsyte predicts that the average Australian household will have around 29 connected devices in just over three years’ time. That’s almost triple the devices we have now. Take a look around your home. By the year 2020, if this report is correct, a huge number of the appliances you use every day will have been replaced with ‘smart’ versions. That includes your light bulbs, your heating system and even the lock on your front door. The forecast from Telsyte is that “early adopters will spend about $383 million on products and services categorised as part of the Internet of Things” in 2016. By the year 2020, that amount is forecast to grow to create a $4 billion dollar industry in Australia alone.
What is the Internet of Things?
The internet allows us to access information and communicate with people almost anywhere on Earth at the click of a button. The Internet of Things lets us ‘talk’ to our devices, telling them what to do using remote controls, apps and even our voices. They can also talk to each other, passing useful information back and forth without your needing to manually handle anything. For IoT devices to work, they require inbuilt technology that allows them to connect to the internet as well as a network to remain connected to. According to Telsyte, the following items will be on Australians’ Christmas wish lists over the next few years:
Smart energy:This includes things like smart heaters and air conditioners that can sense when to turn on and off in order to reduce our temperature control bills.
Smart security:Predicted to be a $635M industry by 2020, smart cameras and alarms can send you a notification the moment someone steps foot on your property. They can also let you check in and see exactly what’s going on in real time. Smart Lifestyle
Smart lifestyle:Control everything in your home, from your window shades, to the amount of water your plants get, to the vacuuming and even the lawn mowing with the Internet of Things. In the very near future you’ll probably even be able to ask your fridge if you need milk.
Smart hubs:Already growing in popularity in the US, smart hubs are a central place to control your connected home, reducing the need for multiple apps to control your IoT devices. To make the most of a smart hub, you will have to make sure your devices are either compatible or the same brand. When you’re at home, using a smart hub could soon be as simple as asking it out loud to turn the fan on or increase the volume on your connected speakers.
Why the IoT is on the rise
In an insightful 2014 report, US insights company Trendwatching attributed the rise of the constantly connected internet of things to four key factors. These included:
- Cheaper and more efficient wireless connectivity
- The rise of cloud storage
- Ultra precise geo locators (that can figure out where we are in very precise detail)
- The rise of crowdfunding outlets that enabled visionary inventors to raise the capital for their ideas
Trendwatching’s report claimed that the driving motivation for us to be increasingly connected is the desire for better wellbeing, safety, security and comfort that IoT devices can provide. Teslyte’s report added that as well as meeting our needs, the Internet of Things will cleverly incite us to stay connected through gamification. We’ll be rewarded for using our devices and be inspired to regularly add more to our collections. The more reliable, the more helpful and the more rewarding these devices are, the more we’ll be turning to them to add to the convenience of our daily lives.
The cost of getting connected
The cost of the devices that make up the Internet of Things could set us back anything from under $100 (for an internet connected light globe) to thousands of dollars (for your entire home security system). What is worth being aware of, however, is the amount of data that the IoT will consume. Connected gadgets are generally designed to be tapped into the internet at all times, which means as well as spending money to buy them, they will represent a drain on your monthly data cap. Data consumption in Australia increased by an incredible 45 per cent between 2015 and 2016, and this trajectory is expected to continue its exponential rise. In fact, a forecast from Cisco claims that the amount of data we use in 2018 will be more than the amount we used “in all the years before 2013 combined”. It’s easy to point at the rise in popularity of HD video services to explain this trend, but a large increase in always-on low-consumption devices, such as IoT products, could also have an effect. Cisco also claims that by 2020, there will be two million internet households in Australia using more than 250 gigabytes per month and over 500,000 households using over 500 GB per month. With access to fast internet over the nbn™ network, Australians will have a better chance to keep up with their future selves’ connected lifestyle requirements and desires.
Check out some of the IoT devices that you could be welcoming into your home in the near future.