The IoT challenge: Continuity across devices and platforms

The Internet of Things (IoT) once again dominates this year's International CES, but the real value of the event is showing where all this connectivity can play a role in changing lives, says Ray Wang, chairman and founder of Constellation Research.

"The continued evolution of dumb devices to smarter and connected devices has impacted not only entertainment, but also drones," says Wang, whose analyst firm focuses on disruptive technologies.

There is a need for continuity across devices and platforms, he states. "As these devices evolve, the insights gathered, studied and shared will play a role in creating new ecosystems," he adds. "People will want to seamlessly move content and experiences across devices."

As these devices evolve, the insights gathered, studied and shared will play a role in creating new ecosystems.

Into Big Data territory

The real driver behind what we see at CES is that for the first time backends at scale are technically and economically viable for applications enabled by mobile devices, says Constellation Research vice president and principal analyst Holger Mueller.

Provisioning across market places, device management and security and more have matured only in the last 12 to 18 months to a level that makes large scale device rollouts for enterprises feasible, he states.

With Big Data and real' analytics becoming viable, for the first time intelligent and advanced applications reach the end user on their mobile device.

"Last but not least, let's not forget that the price competition between mobile service providers is helping enterprises to make the operational economics work," says Mueller.

Constellation research analyst Alan Lepofsky, meanwhile, says by applying analytics to data collected by different sensors, enterprise collaboration platforms will be able to guide people as to what they should be working on immediately and what things they can avoid or delay.

IoT and Internet security

Steve Wilson, principal analyst at Constellation Research, notes the security implications of the rise of IoT.

For the second year now, the FIDO Alliance has been hosting consumer authentication showcase at CES.

The FIDO Alliance, he states, is designing the authentication plumbing for everything online. They are creating new standards and technical protocols allowing secure personal devices (phones, personal smart keys, wearables, and soon a range of regular appliances) to securely transmit authentication data to cloud services and other devices, in some cases eliminating passwords altogether.

The FIDO Alliance has now grown to over 130 members which include technology "heavyweights" like Google, Lenovo and Microsoft; payments giants Discover, MasterCard, PayPal and Visa; and e-commerce players like Netflix. There are also a couple of dozen biometrics vendors, many leading Identity and Access Management (IDAM) solutions and services, and almost every SIM and smartcard supplier.

"This is a watershed in Internet security and privacy - never before has authentication been a headline consumer issue," says Wilson, who has been tracking the work of the alliance since it was formed in 2013.

"Sure we've all talked about the password problem for 10 years or more, but now FIDO Alliance members are doing something about it, with easy-to-use solutions designed specifically for mass adoption," says Wilson.

This is a watershed in Internet security and privacy - never before has authentication been a headline consumer issue.


For Constellation Research principal analyst Natalie Petouhoff, a key focus for companies producing wearable technologies is customer service, not just at point of sale, but throughout the lifecyle of the product..

"As more and more people start using consumer electronics as more than a device (wearables), the companies producing these products need to be aware that the customer service they provide," she states.

These include answering questions during the buying process, once the product is purchased and is being used. All these, she says, have an impact on continual adoption, positive word of mouth and revenue and sales.

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