Emerging from the big Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, we wondered, “Are manufacturers introducing anything that isn’t an IoT product?” As Stacey Higginbotham, CEO of Stacey on IoT, put it so succinctly, “At CES 2017, the concept of ‘put a chip in it’ was apparent everywhere.”

In the smart home segment of the Internet of Things (IoT) market, we observed huge growth just since last year. As in past years, Ayla Networks had a booth in the CES Smart Home zone. Last year’s Smart Home section felt like a small island in an enormous sea of exhibits; the CES 2017 Smart Home area took up half a floor at the Las Vegas Sands Hotel.

We didn’t spend all our time wandering around other companies’ booths. Ayla made a slew of announcements of our own at CES 2017, including:

We also announced a partnership with IoT product engineering firm Volansys Technologies

Plus, Ayla announced a number of new products from our customers including:

Beyond our own announcements, walking the show floor at CES 2017, especially the Smart Home zone, a bunch of trends struck us:

  • The IoT is becoming a mainstream technology. There’s been an explosion in the number and range of smart home and wearable IoT products since last year’s CES. We saw everything from multiple companies offering now-standard IoT products such as smart door locks and doorbells, as well as smart toilets, smart showers, and fitness wearables. A number of big booths had buff-looking athlete types climbing 3-story cargo nets, performing grueling CrossFit workouts and riding stationery bikes, all while connected to the IoT to monitor every kind of physiological metrics imaginable.
  • IoT security remains a huge concern for both consumers and manufacturers. Whether we talked with people manufacturing IoT devices or those ready to purchase them, the questions and themes around security remained the same. Everyone is concerned about protecting data privacy and preventing hacking.
  • Product differentiation is increasingly difficult for manufacturers. Walking by various CES booths, we overheard plenty of comments along the lines of, “It looks like everyone’s doing the same thing.”
  • IoT value is still perceived primarily as a consumer thing. CES attendees generally assumed that it’s consumers who are the primary beneficiaries of IoT value. Many people asked us, as an IoT platform aimed at manufacturers, why manufacturers would invest in IoT solutions. When we explained the benefits to manufacturers—real-world usage feedback that can lead to rapid product improvements, the ability to update and fix products continually after they’re installed and perform preventive maintenance, the potential to generate new revenue streams through add-on services—people got it, immediately.
  • Manufacturers increasingly appreciate the value of an IoT platform. They grasp that an IoT platform not only speeds their time to market and takes care of technology updates and enhancements far into the future, but also provides access to entire ecosystems of application and service providers that can enhance their own offerings. Through a comprehensive IoT platform such as Ayla’s, manufacturers can easily, affordably and securely tie into things like HomeKit, Alexa, Google Home, various data feeds, and a range of valuable apps and services.
  • Voice control is growing as an interface for IoT devices. Amazon Alexa got the most attention in the voice realm at CES 2017, but other voice-related technologies were evident throughout the show, as well. We even saw a handful of companies with auditory-controlled robots that could recognize if users were happy or sad, as well as perform Alexa-type activities such as playing a song or reading a story.

Ayla also had a suite at CES, featuring well-attended themed networking sessions and demonstrations of some innovative IoT products from our customers.

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  • Ayla partners participating in a panel discussion included: mnubo (data analytics), Cardinal Peak (IoT mobile app development) and Volansys (smart home gateways)
  • Ayla customers taking part in another panel discussion included Best Buy, Midea, Salus, and TCL Group.

CES is always an overwhelming experience. But the Ayla Networks representatives in attendance left the show feeling extremely positive about the future of the IoT, and smart home solutions in particular. We see growing recognition of the value that the Ayla IoT platform offers to manufacturers of connected products in all kinds of IoT markets.