Will the internet of things mean big things for retail?
Smart cities full of smart appliances, dubbed the Internet of Things (IoT), could offer retailers unlimited opportunities to sell new appliances. Everything from heating to lighting and appliances will one day be connected to the internet in the name of efficiency and it will all be managed by remote control.
Swedish firm Linkafy specializes in apps to control internet-enabled appliances. GE Brillon appliances (ovens only at the moment, more in the works) can be controlled via smartphone with a hefty emphasis on ensuring security. Samsung has big plans, as does Google, which purchased connected-home appliance company Nest in January.
Security is a crucial concern in this brave, newly connected world. In a report on an early security breach, CA-based Proofpoint identified "more than 750,000 phishing and spam emails launched from … conventional household ‘smart’ appliances" during two weeks from December 2013 to January 2014.
Appliances, just as PCs and mobile devices, can be used to carry out malicious activity such as identity theft. Proofpoint, citing Osterman Research’s principal analyst as its source, concluded that the IoT offers "great promise for cybercriminals."
Others are concerned about information gathered by the likes of Google for marketing purposes. A Nest co-founder assured that privacy would be protected, but questions about Google’s reasons for acquiring Nest arose immediately. Previous attempts — Android@Home for phones, Nexus Q streamer and Chromecast — haven’t persuaded consumers to get on board, according to CNN.
Forrester Research, sourced in a New York Times blog, maintains that just one or two percent of people have connected devices to control lighting, climate, energy, appliances and home monitoring, with security devices the most popular. One analyst concluded, "We’re at the beginning of the industry hype cycle but not at the beginning of mainstream consumer adoption."
- Convenience connected. Manage your home like never before – General Electric
- All about us – Linkafy
- Google buys Nest Labs for $3.2 billion – CNNmoney
- Is 2014 the Year of the Connected Home? – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
- Why Google paid $3.2 billion for Nest’s smart thermostats – PC World
- Proofpoint uncovers internet of things (IoT) cyberattack – Proof Point
- Security lags in protecting internet-connected appliances – San Francisco Chronicle
What will the arrival of internet-connected home appliances and other devices mean for retailers? What security safeguards and/or restrictions on data gathering will consumers demand?