In recent years, the Internet of Things has become one of the most impactful technological developments in all of digital commerce, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Due to the affordability of smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, consumers have welcomed voice assistants into their life, further enabling their expansion to everything from appliances to thermostat systems. Companies profiled include Facebook, Miele, Hilton, Quip, Huawei, MIRROR and Harman.
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With the explosion in the popularity of smart assistants, consumers have become more open to the idea of a connected home. Connected devices previously thought to be out of reach for the average consumer, like smart appliances and Wi-Fi enabled vehicles, are now within reach and, in some cases, even expected.
Approximately 32% of US homes have a smart speaker, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. These speakers allow many consumers to control their basic home functions with just a few words. Initially, this meant turning the lights on and off, or turning up the music, but now these devices enable the ordering of dinner, adding items to a grocery shopping list, and checking what is already in a shopping cart. Smart speakers are expected to continue growing to become a vital medium for digital commerce, just like smartphones or laptops.
Internet-connected devices offer convenience and efficiency for consumers worldwide; however, with convenience comes certain risks. Many IoT devices are accompanied by mobile applications and in-app or in-device purchases. Whenever payment or personal information is involved, there is a risk of it being compromised or even sold. Cameras and listening IoT devices add another level of risk, as there have been cases of devices listening in on conversations to create future targeted marketing ads.
Going forward, internet-connected devices will continue to grow in popularity and become a normal expectation among the mass population. Large hotel chains and leading vehicle manufacturers have already begun incorporating IoT devices into their customer experiences, and Internet of Things devices are likely to move further into areas such as foodservice and travel.