The Internet of Things–IoT–is causing a lot of buzz in the tech industry after an estimate for the potential size of the market was forecasted to be in the neighborhood of $17 trillion. A market that size would prove to be more impactful on society than the internet itself. This estimate has caused innovators get the ball rolling on their IoT ideas to try to capture a portion of that enormous market. There are two important issues associated with this flood of new ideas being introduced into the IoT market, namely the focus on the user experience and on security.
IoT opens up a powerful new capability to people that we have never had before. Being able to have devices pass data to each other and trigger other devices’ actions takes the burden off of the user and allows people to automate much of their environment.
When executed properly, the automation the IoT provides can make their lives simpler and more efficient, but it needs to be created in a way that benefits users. To accomplish this, innovators need to put the focus of their IoT products on user experience and design. Focusing on these two things will ensure that the product being built solves a problem that users actually have and does it in a way that doesn’t add any complexity or stress to their lives.
The best way to address these issues is to make sure there is some overlap in knowledge within your team. Having a systems lead who is well versed in user experience and design will place the top priority on the user and the experience they will be delivered by the product. Having designers who are well versed in technology will allow the design and experience to work in synergy with the technology recruited to deliver the solution to the user. When the user is made top priority, you can be sure that product is indeed helpful to users and doesn’t add complexity to their lives.
But even those IoT devices with amazing user experiences can pose great risk if security measures aren’t built in to the product. Since IoT devices are poised to be in a majority of homes and have an intimate connection with users, the threat of somebody hijacking these devices can be catastrophic. Security needs to be considered in every step of the design process. Securing transmissions between devices is only one aspect of the overall security of the device. Things like data history, network entry points, and overall data integrity are areas of focus that need to be addressed and monitored. Along with implementing preventive measures within IoT devices, some emphasis should also be placed on reactive measures for when breaches do occur.
When thinking about creating a product for the IoT market there a few questions every innovator should consider. Does my idea solve a real problem and introduce real value for consumers? Can I create a solution that won’t add complexity or stress to consumers’ lives? Can I create a solution that won’t compromise consumer security and privacy? If the answer to these questions is yes, you might be poised to capture your own part of the IoT market.