How are people actually using the Internet of Things?
Three researchers affiliated with Accenture set out to answer that question by conducting an “open-source analysis of IoT user behavior.¨ The researchers examined more than 279,000 interactions with IoT devices spanning 1,000 IoT technology platforms, publishing the results in an article in the Harvard Business Review.
The most heavily used IoT programs are those that make home life easier and more pleasant and that reflect individual lifestyles, according to the HBR article. People want to be able to create such IoT services without having to go through much trouble or frustration, the researchers found.
The researchers determined that early IoT users prefer natural user interfaces, in other words, ones that don’t require them to type instructions or even adjust settings on a smartphone or tablet. What they really value, according to the researchers, are ¨’living services’ that anticipate their wants and act on them.¨
Most Popular IoT Applications
The researchers go on to list four general types of ¨living services¨ that early adopters are creating using IoT platforms:
- Technology that extends security. There are dozens of IoT home security solutions, the authors note. They cite one example, a system called Presence that converts old iPhones and Android devices into rotating home cameras using software that connects old phones that have functioning cameras to currently-used smartphones or PCs so users can view areas in their homes remotely.
- Apps that quantify the self. Early adopters are taking to using IoT apps that measure how they compare with others on a variety of dimensions. For example, users are tracking sleep patterns and levels of daily activity and looking at simple dashboard analytics to understand this data. Devices employed in creating these types of life services include connected wristbands with embedded sensors and software. Otherwise known as connected wearables, they’re among the most popular and fastest growing segments of Internet-enabled consumer electronics, the authors note.
- Services that optimize our machines. People are using IoT services to automate aspects of their daily lives they don’t like to do manually. One example is energy management apps that perform simple, routine tasks, such as turning on or adjusting interior lights when the sun is setting to save energy and money.
- Creative ways to enhance daily experiences. Some IoT platforms connect smart devices and sensors to enhance everyday activities by tapping into sensory aspects of our environment like visuals, temperatures, and sounds. The report authors cite a popular IoT app that connects the Weather Channel website to the Phillips Hue Lighting system. Lights turn blue in specified rooms if it starts to rain. Another possibility they describe is an entertainment system that turns on a particular type of music and adjusts lighting based on the user’s preferences when performing specific tasks or during a certain time of day.