CES 2016: Internet of Things moves from concept to reality

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Las Vegas Concept PhotoThis year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas helped to prove the “Internet of things” (IoT) is no longer a buzzword but a reality, and everything from homes to cars to athletic gear will soon be connected. This is not only a technological shift, but also a business one. As IDC predicts, by 2020, the IoT network will consist of more than 29 billion connected devices and the data from these devices will yield insights that drive economic value of more than $11 trillion by 2025. Here’s a look at some of the biggest trends at the 2016 edition of CES that illustrated how IoT has evolved from concept to reality.


Connected Homes and Cities

Smarter homes would not be possible without the IoT, which enables homeowners to monitor and improve how they control their electrical power and other everyday resources via their mobile phones. And as homes get smarter, they create more data.

As IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said in her keynote speech, “Data that was invisible will now be visible to you.” Companies can create ways that not only link heating, plumbing, lighting, home-alarm and other systems to an online hub where people can track their usage of these systems, but also offer ways for consumers to analyze patterns in the data gathered on their habits. Conceivably, that could lead to less waste of basic home resources. In addition, companies can use the insights generated by these smarter homes to improve their products as well as customize products to meet consumer needs.

Entire cities promise to be influenced by IoT as well. At CES, for instance, AT&T announced four new IoT innovations that deal with infrastructure, citizen engagement, transportation and public safety. They also created a digital dashboard called Smart City Network Operation Center (SC-NOC). This will allow city officials to monitor power outages, water leaks, traffic issues and more—all from one location.


Internet of Athletes

Wearables have consistently been front and center at CES in recent years, but the focus this year has shifted to fitness. This is evident in IBM’s announcement of its partnership with Under Armour, formed to create UA Record, a body dashboard with insights powered by IBM Watson, a cognitive system that learns at scale, reasons with purpose and interacts with humans naturally. UA Record analyzes all of your data and provides a single view of your daily progress with personalized insights and recommendations.

Wearable technology is shifting from simply reporting fitness data to actually analyzing personal data and providing insights tailored for you—creating, in essence, the Internet of Athletes.

Intel also made an interesting announcement in the wearable marketplace with their tiny button-sized Curie processor. It will be mounted on professional athletes at the upcoming X Games and its hope is this sensor will be embedded, well, everywhere including clothes, sporting gear and drones.


Connected Cars

Cars and computing technologies continue to merge at this year’s show. And according to USA Today, the auto tech space took up 25 percent more convention floor space than it did in 2015. While autonomous driving was a big focus at the show, what really stood out at CES was all the ways automakers are personalizing the car experience. It should be no surprise that by 2020 the connected car will be the number one connected application and will produce 350 MB of data per second.

CNET held an interesting panel on this topic and brought together Ford, General Motors, BMW and Pandora to talk about how connected cars are evolving. Get a snapshot of the session in this video. It features Sherif Marakby, Director, Global Electrical/Electronic Systems Engineering at Ford Motor Company, discussing how the company is taking steps toward the autonomous car.


The Internet of Things in the Cognitive Era

The value of connected devices for enterprises is the data they create. But without a reliable and efficient way to analyze and utilize that data, the information generated will have little impact on your business.

So how can you lead your team to truly tap into the potential of IoT, now that CES has closed and IoT is top of mind? It’s easy enough to secure IoT data, but are you able to make sense of it once it’s collected?

This is where cognitive systems can come into play. According to Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watston IoT and Education, cognitive systems can make sense of 80 percent of the world’s unstructured data, allowing companies to see patterns and gain insights that help them create informed decisions.

Take a look at the path to Cognitive IoT to see the future and full potential of connected devices.


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