Well it all kicked off for IoT in 2014. Substantial acquisitions, the continued decline in sensor and processing costs, and a wave of new products and players entering the market. The landscape has become more complex, the media interest more acute and some would say the hype is now at its peak.
As we enter 2015 we’re wondering if the momentum can continue and what we can expect from such a fast moving market. So we’ve asked the people who are making it happen – the founders and funders in IoT – what their predictions are for 2015. Here’s their responses, and just for fun, a couple from us, which will probably come back to haunt us:
The platform market is due a shakedown. ‘There are now too many companies trying to position their offer as a platform for a limited number of developers – there’s got to be some casualties and the pressure is on to develop some common standards’ Paul Egan, Neul
But smart home platforms should prove durable: ‘People are going to start thinking of their homes as Google homes or an Apple home and buying applications for the house. The important thing here is making the payment model smooth, something which both Apple and Google are well practised at’ Mark Cheverton, Red Gate. ‘Even as increasing numbers of incompatible home gateways appear in homes, we see the first signs of solutions which make it interoperate at least in the cloud e.g. Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s Thread.’ Pilgrim Beart, 1248 Ltd
In fact expect much more participation from Google and Apple: ‘Google and Apple will join the party properly sharing access to their platforms more openly instead of the toe-dipping exercise that was Nest. And in contrast to the Industrial Giants building out their own “platforms”‘ Andrew Orrock, Arkessa
Finally! The arrival of the internet fridge. Or at least more connected large appliances. ‘By the end of 2015 at least 2% of households in the EU will have one large appliance with internet capabilities’ Matjaz Likar, Gorenje
Companies will become more discriminating about what they can sell: ‘Hopefully we will start to come down off the hype curve and back into real projects with real ROI. I see B2C getting all the attention, but B2B is where the real money will happen. Some of the very large companies (like IBM, Cisco, Microsoft) will finally introduce an tangible product offer instead of just services or vision.’ Randy Thompson, Axeda. Matt Hatton from Machina also sees a lot more focus emerging for IoT players: ‘companies throughout the M2M and IoT value chain will increasingly realise that they can’t sell everything to everyone.’
Security will move to front of mind for customers. Many people mentioned this, including Craig Hollingsworth from Concirrus: ‘I think there’s going to be some breach of security that will end up publicised in the world’s media, and consumers will start to factor it into purchasing’. Ben Peters from Neul is even more specific: ‘Bluetooth and IP based cameras are both channels with a lot of data that is very sensitive for consumers. If the media gets hold of vulnerabilities there it will get hot.’
And of course, more M&A activity – kudos to Machina Research for a very thorough scan of the IoT market and what’s hot for 2015. Here’s their thoughts on M&A prospects this year:
‘During 2014 we’ve seen a lot of interesting M&A, not least PTC acquiring Axeda, in addition to ThingWorx, as well as recent deals that saw Kore buy RACO Wireless, and Sierra Wireless buy Maingate. 2015 should see more of the same, particularly involving two types of companies. Data analytics providers will be increasingly appealing as companies seek to broaden their service offerings to include analytics capabilities. Meanwhile full service providers such as Numerex, Aeris Communications and Raco/Kore will become increasingly attractive acquisition targets. As the primary full-service M2M solution providers in the space, these mid-tier companies provide a crucial service path to enterprises looking to build and design IoT and M2M projects. 2015 will be the year of consolidation for these agile companies.’
for a full list of Machina’s other interesting trends to watch go here.
And finally here’s a specific bet from us on one of the most established M2M applications out there: all the hype in the world is not going to help the UK’s beleaguered Smart Metering roll out programme, which looks increasingly vulnerable to post election rationalisation. Expect to see it canned or radically re-shaped by the end of the year.