The evolution of connected devices can be traced to early Internet days and e-commerce’s emergence. Since the early 2000s, the physical product world has morphed at a rapid pace, as consumers shifted behavior to online commerce and entertainment. Smartphones and the ubiquity of wireless networks arose to replace desktops as the primary point of consumer connectivity, leading the way for a boom in mobile computing. Ultimately, connected products emerged, embedded with sensors and connectivity that enable data to be aggregated and analyzed through cloud platforms for delivering value to the consumer.
Today, connected devices can communicate with other connected devices, provide remote control, automate decisions and take actions based upon the data gathered. They can also receive automatic firmware and software updates to patch problems, ward off security threats or add new features. According to Parks Associates research, 19 percent of U.S. broadband households currently own at least one Internet-connected smart home device that offers remote control, monitoring, or notifications via a smartphone, tablet, computer or app.
One result of this evolution is the definition of what a product is has changed. It is no longer simply the mechanical and electrical components designed into a form factor. In the IoT, products are comprised of physical components, computing components that enable data collection and storage, connectivity, and smart elements that employ sensors, remote computing, and cloud-based analytics and applications.