Wearables, and the Internet of Things (IoT) for developers

Cloud-driven, multi-platform apps. Location-based apps. Big data. These big trends mean even bigger opportunities for developers who take aim at wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Why are wearables and the IoT so exciting? Because they utterly obscure the line between tech as an object and tech as an experience. Most users today haven’t even heard the term Internet of Things, but they know what they want even if they don’t know what it’s called. What users demand most today is fluidity. They want to map a route, take a seat in their vehicle, and be guided to their destination without engaging in a series of additional steps to make that happen. They want fitness wearables that sync seamlessly with their laptops and phones. They want to move from one platform to another without disruption. Developers and manufacturers still sometimes struggle to provide the experience users can envision, and they’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. In that gap lies opportunity.

Wearables and IoT technology are still relatively young, but they’re growing at a tremendous rate. Wearable tech hit $12 billion in sales in 2015— that’s nearly a 225% growth rate. By 2020, projected revenue is $25 billion. By 2017, there will be 50 billion connected devices out there. And the term “devices” needs to be used loosely. Connected clothing, RFID tags, even mattress covers that monitor your sleep are all players in the world of M2M/IoT.

In the business world, the IoT, sometimes also referred to as Industrial Technology, will be at 96% adoption within the next three years. We’re not just talking large enterprises, here. In the age of smartphones, small business owners are equally comfortable with the Internet of Things, which means a broader array of development opportunities. And the ROI is pretty spectacular. 94% of businesses will see an ROI from M2M technology, 66% or more reaching that goal within one year. Then there are the potential savings. For example, connecting the IoT to a vehicle fleet can save about $1000 per vehicle per year.

Don’t overlook data, either. With only .06% of the things that could be connected to the internet currently connected, the IoT is still projected to produce 400 zettabytes of data by 2018. There’s no telling how many new development vistas this gold mine of information could open up.

Last but not least, the sheer number of possibilities in this new landscape has also opened up tremendous opportunities for developers focused on security. It’s estimated that 75% or so of existing apps and objects are vulnerable to hacking. Third-party security development could be an extremely profitable enterprise.

The scope of possibility when it comes to M2M/IoT technology is almost startling. Exploiting the development potential will be an exciting ride, with incredible profit potential.