The start of a new year is traditionally a time to take a hopeful look at what might be achieved in the coming year. The cable industry is no different. One of the biggest trends expected in 2017 will be the growth and evolvement of consumer interaction with devices and services – the so-called “Internet of Things.” And cable will continue to play a significant role.
First, what exactly is the “Internet of Things”? The term refers to physical devices, cars, buildings or other items that are embedded with sensors, electronics or software that allow these items to collect and share data via the internet.
As a result, devices connected to your home internet have expanded beyond your smart phone or tablet. Things that only a few years ago seemed like science fiction – a thermostat that reports your energy usage, a front door unlocked with your smart phone, or a home device that performs numerous tasks in response to your voice commands – are increasingly commonplace.
In fact, initial holiday sales reports found that sales were strong for voice controlled home devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The average U.S. broadband home contains at least eight computing or mobile devices, plus two connected home devices such as smart lighting or a smart thermostat, and half of the U.S. broadband households plan to buy a smart home device in the next year, according to recent reports.
As the number and type of devices grow, consumers will come to rely on them as essential tools in the home or business.
All of these advancements are supported by cable’s broadband network, which currently is available to 93 percent of U.S. homes. More public Wi-Fi hotspots, faster broadband speeds, enhanced encryption and managed cybersecurity risks put cable at the forefront of expanding the Internet of Things.
What devices will the future bring?
By 2020, it’s estimated there will be 50.1 billion connected devices in use – more than a 200 percent jump from today.