Invited by the IEEE-SA to participate on a panel called the “IEEE IoT Soiree,” I recently had the pleasure of attending my first CES show. Our panel critiqued a few startups in the IoT space (http://ces.ieeesa-events.org/). A key take-away from this event was that investors are really actively not investing in IoT, but investors seem to be looking for companies that will change the way people do things and enhance their lives. The products must have a strong lifestyle changing effect. The startups that were presented centered on edge devices, but some may be service provider worthy and turned into a viable service business. Cisco panelist Maciej Kranz said that the industrial IoT is where the money is, but enterprises are still fearful of taking the leap because of unknown security issues and unsubstantiated return on investments. Although true, there are sustainable IoT designed to show sustainable IoT scenarios and businesses that service providers can leverage. Another take-away centered on how to stimulate enterprises to embrace IoT and use the solutions for their own benefits.
After the event I began my exploration. This was the first time I attended the CES event and it was impressive. However my first impression was “crowded”! Why? This year the convention—the largest CES to date with more exhibition space than last year—hosted 170,000 people and about 3,600 exhibitors. The event was distributed between two convention centers and hotels throughout the Las Vegas strip. However, it was organized with themed areas, for example, fitness, wearables, privacy, home security, and branded aisles showcasing French, Israeli, Korean and Chinese technology. The exhibit locations were itemized into product categories such as 3D printing, digital Imaging/Photography, online media and wireless devices and services.
There were plenty of commercial products with IoT solutions or marketing touting “connected” devices as well as wearable watches and fitbit-like devices. Mind control products, using the frontal lobe, were quite intriguing. 3D video experiences were also popular (via TV, glasses for gaming, etc.). I was particularly interested in the health, biotech and wearables areas, promising for service providers (thank goodness they were close together!). See forecast (link to press release). One example of cutting-edge connect solution development was exhibited by Jeff Li, vice president of iHealth, http://community.ihealthlabs.com/Protals/Home.aspx, who mentioned that it is now building out a cloud service aimed at service providers .
The event although overwhelming, it did reinforce that IoT can be a viable service business once providers figure out how to address the market, security issues and prove return on investments. But if you plan to go to CES 2016 my advice is to invest in good, comfortable shoes because you will be walking for miles!
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