It's Here! The Internet of Things & The Connected Home

Written by Lisa Harmer on March 28, 2014

The term “Internet of Things” or “IoT” for short has been in use since approximately 2009 as a conceptualization of the possibilities that the Internet could deliver as connectivity increased. Five years later, the Internet of Things is rapidly becoming part of our everyday language, behavior and consciousness. The concept of the Internet of Things can be a little hard to wrap your head around. It’s not just communication of data from PCs to mobile devices. A recent research report from Stifel takes almost 70 pages to define and describe IoT, everything from wearables like Google Glass and Nike fitness monitors, and automotive technology to SAAS applications like Salesforce.com and network storage services that leverage the cloud.
 
One of the highlights of the report is the “connected home” and the rapid evolution of the kinds of devices that are being integrated into the Internet of Things through the home. Did you realize that your smart thermostat, high-tech appliances, new-fangled smart locks, and streaming music or video feeds put you smack in the middle of the Internet of Things? Well, you’re there—as is your connected home. Stifel estimates that there is an average of 8-12 connected devices in each of the 115 million households in the US. Of course the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) puts that number at over 40 and those estimates continue to increase.
 
The ubiquity of mobile devices is also making consumers feel more connected, and in control. We now expect to be able to communicate and control virtually everything right from our phones or tablets no matter where we are. And you know, what? We can.
 
Stifel believes that customers’ appetite for more connection and control will continue to drive expansion and innovation in the connected home, saying, “…we believe the connected home/home automation market within the umbrella of the Internet of Things is poised for substantial growth over the next decade given the ever increasing demands placed on improving efficiency (energy savings through remote home management) and the need for security.”
 
Looking back at how the quickly the Internet of Things has evolved over the past five years (to put this in perspective, the iPad was introduced just four years ago!), is the “connected home” already a reality or still just a vision for the future? We think it’s here. And it has been. Control4 systems have been controlling and connecting all types of devices in the smart home – from thermostats to AV equipment to lighting, appliances, locks, garage doors, blinds, sprinkler systems, pools and spas, fans and fireplaces. And there will be a day in the not-too-distant future when my Fitbit will check in with my smart refrigerator and send some healthy dinner recommendations to my email based on my daily calorie goals and what’s in my fridge. Or maybe my house will check the outdoor temperature and note that it’s near freezing. Knowing that I leave the house at 8am, it would open the garage door five minutes before and start my smart car so it’s nice and toasty when I’m ready to head to the office. The possibilities for the future are endless, but so are the realities of what’s possible today with the connected home and Control4 technology.