Consumer IoT

Smart Home Consumer IoT Devices with Voice-Control Are Gaining Popularity.

15 Min
May 25, 2024
Consumer service use case

What to Expect?

User convenience, improved quality of life, automated daily tasks. This is the main focus of consumer IoT. The latest innovations of consumer IoT in healthcare include RFID and sensor-based cyber-implants that provide medical data and monitor patient health. Bluetooth LE technology is used in combination with the smartphone to help consumers locate e-bikes. Developments in e-mobility have resulted in customer-centric e-charging stations that enable secure e-payment and authentication.

1. Status Quo

What is Consumer IoT (CIoT)?

Consumer Internet of Things (CIoT), or Consumer IoT is a sub-category of the Internet of Things (IoT) and involves the integration of IoT technologies into consumer appliances and devices that are used in everyday life. The smartphone is the most common example of a consumer IoT device. Consumer IoT devices use edge computing technologies. Real-time data capture is made possible via embedded sensors and actuators. Both data collection and exchange occurs via the Internet. The primary goal of consumer IoT is to enhance convenience, efficiency, and the overall quality of life for users by automating tasks and providing real-time information and control.

How is Consumer IoT Categorized?

There are five main applications of consumer services.

1. Smart Homes

Smart homes are perhaps the most well-known category of consumer IoT. This application involves IoT-based automation in smart homes, including the automation of chores, security and safety, as well as energy management. Smart thermostats, lighting systems, security cameras, smart TVs, and door locks can be controlled remotely via smartphones and tablets, or via voice commands. Voice-controlled devices and voice command is becoming more common in the modern home. Smart voice-recognition speakers such as Amazon Echo and smart home platforms like Google Home are becoming hubs for IoT.

Powered by the voice-activated assistant “Google Assistant” that is built into Google Home speakers and devices, a Google IoT home system enables the control of different aspects and areas of the smart home via voice commands. This system is compatible with various devices and platforms. Google Nest devices are often used. An example is the Google Nest Hub Max that enables video calls, as well as photo and video displays. The Google Nest Learning Thermostat saves energy by enabling the automatic adjustment of temperature. Google Nest Protect issues alerts if carbon monoxide or smoke is detected in the home. From adjusting lighting and temperature, to automatically locking doors, and controlling entertainment systems, Google Home devices are examples of consumer IoT devices that focuses on the convenience of home owners.

2. Smart Workplaces

Smart workplaces utilize IoT technology to create more efficient and comfortable work environments. These applications are similar to smart home applications. This includes smart lighting systems that adjust based on occupancy and natural light, smart thermostats that optimize energy usage, and connected office equipment that can be monitored and maintained remotely. Smart security cameras and smart locks are often used in the smart office as part of an access control solution.

3. Smart Healthcare

Smart healthcare involves the use of IoT technology to monitor and improve personal health and wellness. This category includes wearable health monitors such as fitness trackers and smartwatches that track physical activity, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep, blood sugar, body temperature, and other vital signs. These devices can be connected to smartphones and specialized apps for the tracking of real-time health data. This data can be shared with healthcare professionals for further assistance when required. IoT in healthcare also extends to remote patient monitoring systems that enable continuous observation of patients’ health conditions from their homes.

4. Asset Tracking

Asset tracking devices monitor and manage valuable items and pets. Smart trackers for personal belongings provide real-time location data, ensuring security. Apple’s AirTag is an example of such a device. The AirTag can be attached to household appliances, vehicles, and wallets, for example. Smart feeders, invisible fences, real-time GPS trackers, as well as health and activity trackers are examples of pet IoT devices. With these devices, pet owners can locate their pets quickly, and better manage pet health. Food, medication and playtime can also be scheduled. These devices typically operate on low power. By utilizing Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), it is possible to maintain comprehensive coverage across extensive areas and establish reliable IoT connections.

5. Wearables

Wearables are being developed to lessen user reliance on smartphones. They are devices worn on the body that collect and analyze data. This includes fitness trackers, smart watches, smart glasses, smart clothing, and hearables. Wearable devices provide health monitoring capabilities, daily activity tracking, and safety features. They are often integrated with mobile apps to provide detailed insights and personalized recommendations based on the collected data. Wearables also offer features like notifications, GPS navigation, and contactless payments, enhancing everyday convenience.

Wearables also help improve worker safety. Network-connected boots, vests, and hard hats in the construction and mining industry can provide data on the workers in real time. This data can be analyzed via cloud-based services in order to ensure proactive safety measures and quick safety-related interventions.

Wireless IoT Technologies and Consumer IoT

  • LPWAN

    Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies like Sigfox, NB-IoT, and LoRaWAN are often used in smart homes and for asset tracking applications.

  • NFC

    Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is widely used in mobile payment systems, enabling consumers to make contactless payments with their smartphones or smartwatches.

  • 5G / 6G

    How does 5G work in consumer IoT? In the context of smart homes, 5G enables seamless streaming of high-definition video from security cameras and the real-time control of connected appliances.

  • Bluetooth LE

    Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is commonly used in wearable devices, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches, to monitor health metrics and activity levels.

  • Sensor Technology

    Sensors enable environmental monitoring and control within smart homes and buildings. Temperature, humidity, and air quality sensors are commonly integrated into smart thermostats and HVAC systems.

Consumer IoT Products

As already explained in the section above, there are many different types of consumer IoT devices.

Examples of consumer IoT devices in the smart home are:

Smart thermostats | smart security systems | smart speakers | smart plugs | smart lighting systems | smart door locks | smart refrigerators | smart washing machines | smart doorbells

Examples of consumer IoT devices in the workplace are:

Smart thermostats | smart security systems | smart lighting systems | smart door locks | IoT-enabled printers and office equipment | smart desks | smart occupancy sensors

Examples of consumer IoT devices in the smart healthcare are:

Wearable fitness trackers | smart watches | connected medical devices | smart scales | remote patient monitoring systems

Examples of consumer IoT devices for asset tracking are:

GPS trackers | IoT-enabled pet collars | tracking devices | smart feeders

Examples of consumer IoT wearables are:

Fitness trackers | smart watches | smart glasses | smart rings | smart bracelets | smart hearables

All these different types of consumer IoT devices are embedded with sensors that collect data. These sensors can measure physical parameters such as temperature, humidity, light, motion, and pressure, as well as physiological metrics like heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels.

To transmit the data collected by sensors, consumer IoT devices rely on various communication technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and cellular networks like the 5th generation of mobile networks (5G). These connectivity options enable devices to communicate with each other and with central hubs, like smartphones or dedicated IoT gateways. Some devices also use Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) for long-range communication with minimal energy consumption, making them suitable for applications like asset and pet tracking.

Once data is collected and transmitted, it needs to be processed to generate meaningful insights and actions. Many consumer IoT devices leverage edge computing, where data processing occurs locally on the device or nearby gateways. This enables quick responses and reduces latency. However, for more complex analysis and storage, data is often sent to cloud servers. Cloud computing platforms aggregate data from multiple devices, apply advanced analytics, machine learning algorithms, and provide real-time insights and recommendations. Data from various smart home devices can be analyzed in the cloud to optimize energy usage and enhance security protocols, for example.

The final component of consumer IoT devices is the user interface, which allows users to interact with their devices and access the data and insights generated. This interaction typically occurs through smartphone apps, web dashboards, or voice assistants. These interfaces are designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy for consumers to manage and benefit from their IoT devices.

Facts & Figures

Consumer IoT devices are gaining popularity, especially in the context of smart home devices. According to the market research platform “Gitnux”, it is estimated that approximately 30 million homes in the US will have at least one smart home product in 2025. 63 percent of IoT projects are focused on the wellness and health of customers. 45 percent of consumers surveyed believe that smart technologies make their daily lives more efficient. Results from another survey indicate that 54 percent of home-buyers would invest more for a home that has smart home features.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the increase in market size for consumer IoT devices. In the study “Faktencheck Consumer IoT” by the Deloitte organization and the German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW), 2,000 consumers in Germany were surveyed during the COVID-19 pandemic, between June and July of 2020. The focus topic of the survey is the market dynamics on the distribution of networked hardware in the homes of these consumers. Based on the results of the survey, forecasting techniques were used to examine the future trends of consumer IoT. According to this study, connected entertainment is the leading segment of the consumer IoT market. Forecasts predicted that 90 percent of all TV sets in Germany will have Internet connectivity by 2022. A 15 percent growth in the number of in-house voice assistants in 2022 was forecast. The increasing demand for voice assistants and smart speakers will continue.

2. In Practice

Successful Examples of Consumer IoT Solutions

This section shows three real-world examples of consumer IoT in action. From the tracking of e-bikes, to secure e-payment and e-charging solutions, to ground-breaking cyber-implants in healthcare: Consumer IoT is making an impact in the everyday lives of consumers.

Consumer IoT at Iko Sportartikel Handels

The BLE solution “C-Finder” for localizing e-bikes is used by the bicycle manufacturer Iko Sportartikel Handels from southern Germany. With this solution, bike owners can easily locate their e-bikes. The first Corratec e-bike models for 2024 will all be equipped with the C-Finder tracker. The tracker has an integrated antenna from Kathrein Solutions. The antenna communicates securely with the “Find My” app from Apple. Bike owners open the app to check the exact location of the e-bike on a digital map.

Teaser: Track & Trace of E-bikes Supported by Apple Find My network
Track & Trace of E-bikes Supported by Apple ‘Find My’ Network

“The C-Finder solution is more cost effective compared to GPS and eSIM tracking solutions.”

Thomas Brunner

Managing Director, KATHREIN Solutions

Logo Kathrein Solutions

Consumer IoT at Hardy Barth

eCharge Hardy Barth, a provider of electromobility solutions, has launched new EV charging stations accompanied by customer loyalty offerings. Charging station authentication is achieved using smartcards with RFID Mifare Desfire, Legic Prime & Advant, or NFC/Bluetooth through a smartphone app. Online and offline authentication of both customers and maintenance staff takes place in real time. Using a smartphone, the charging status of the vehicle can be remotely tracked. E-payment services are also made possible.

Teaser: Charging Station with the Service of a Gas Station
Charging Station with the Service of a Gas Station

Consumer IoT from the University of Roma

The company Radio6ense, in collaboration with the Pervasive Electromagnetics Lab of the University of Roma Tor Vergata, is developing cyber-protheses. Passive batteryless RFID technology is the key enabler of cyber-implant applications. Small RFID harvesters are placed at specific points of the implant to get the optimal power transfer from the RFID reader to the RFID microchip in the implant, where sensors are embedded. These wireless sensors provides medical data like temperature, pathogen level, and pH.

“The surgery for the implantation opens a channel between the inside and the outside of the human body. The implants can stay inside for years. We can augment the prosthesis to make it work as a wireless sensor that provides medical data for a long period of time. This would be a ground-breaking change, since cyber implants will become capable of storing data about the wearer, the manufacturer, and the surgeon. The device can also measure the local temperature, the pH, the level of the pathogens, the deformation, and much more. In other words, the cyber implant will be able to monitor the patient health status from the inside, as has never been done before. It will also provide information on the status of the prosthesis itself.”

Prof. Gaetano Marrocco

Director of the Medical Engineering School, University of Roma “Tor Vergata”

3. Panorama

Consumer Services in Retail

Consumer IoT in retail refers to the integration of IoT technologies into the retail environment to enhance the shopping experience and consumer service, streamline operations, and gather valuable data. Retailers use wireless consumer IoT devices to gather data on customer preferences and behaviors. This data is then used to personalize promotions, recommendations, and advertisements such as mobile advertising.

The result: Enhanced customer experience and increased sales. Smart shopping carts equipped with IoT technology can assist customers by providing product information, reducing wait times, and improving convenience. Retailers can use connected devices and wearables to engage customers through loyalty programs, mobile apps, and interactive in-store experiences. IoT devices such as smart mirrors, interactive kiosks, and virtual assistants can provide customers with product information, styling advice, and personalized recommendations, enhancing the in-store experience.

The Future of Consumer IoT

The future of consumer IoT is being shaped by advancements in big data solutions, machine learning, 5G, cloud computing, deep learning, and edge computing. These technologies are converging to create smarter, more efficient, and highly interconnected devices that enhance everyday life.

The surge in demand for connected and wearable devices, coupled with the growing integration of IoT technology in the automotive and healthcare industry, are important drivers of the consumer IoT market. As mentioned in one of the sections above, the COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the growth in demand for consumer IoT devices, especially for the smart home. The expansion of wireless platforms is another factor contributing to the growth of IoT-enabled consumer electronics, making these devices more accessible and user-friendly.

However, the rapid growth of the consumer IoT market is not without challenges. Concerns about data security and privacy remain significant barriers to market expansion. As IoT devices become more prevalent, ensuring the protection of user data and maintaining privacy will be critical to gaining consumer trust and enabling widespread adoption.

Despite these challenges, the development of smart cities presents a substantial opportunity for the consumer IoT industry. The increasing demand for IoT devices in urban environments is expected to create lots of benefits, as cities strive to become more connected and efficient. Smart city or digital city initiatives will likely drive innovation and investment in IoT technology, further accelerating market growth and adoption.

The Advantages of Consumer IoT

The key focus and advantage of consumer IoT is to increase the convenience and quality of everyday life. IoT devices automate routine tasks, making it easier for users to manage their homes, health, and activities. An example of this are smart washing machines that can be remotely monitored and controlled via the smartphone. This level of automation not only saves time, but also provides a more convenient, and integrated experience.

Consumer IoT devices also play an important role in improving health and wellness by providing real-time monitoring and personalized insights. This is typically achieved through smart wearables.
Another advantage of consumer IoT is the potential for enhanced energy efficiency and cost savings. Smart thermostats, lighting systems, and appliances can adjust their settings based on real-time data, occupancy, and user preferences, optimizing energy usage. This not only reduces utility bills, but also contributes to environmental sustainability in companies and homes, by lowering overall energy consumption.

Smart security systems like cameras, motion sensors, and smart locks significantly boost home security and personal safety. Consumer IoT devices can also enhance safety by detecting hazards such as smoke, gas leaks, or water leaks, and sending immediate alerts to prevent damage and ensure quick response to emergencies.

Advantages of Wireless IoT

  • Increased user convenience
  • Improved quality of life
  • Enhanced energy efficiency
  • Enhanced security
  • Real-time health monitoring

The Challenges of Consumer IoT

Privacy and security are important concerns in the field of consumer IoT. IoT devices collect and transmit vast amounts of personal data, including sensitive information about users’ habits, health, and daily activities. Protecting this data from unauthorized access and breaches is very important. While 5G promises to revolutionize consumer IoT with its high-speed, low-latency connectivity, vulnerabilities in 5G protocols and networks can result in large-scale cyberattacks.

As IoT devices are becoming increasingly widespread, governments and industry associations worldwide are establishing guidelines to ensure the safety, privacy, and security of these technologies. Ensuring compliance with diverse standards and regulations for data privacy, product safety, and cybersecurity across various jurisdictions can be challenging.

Consumer IoT devices are vulnerable to cyber attacks and attack vectors. This is due to the complex system architecture that includes numerous networked components. The European standard ETSI EN 303 645, developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has become an important part of consumer IoT in relation to cybersecurity, for example. This standard defines the security requirements for consumer IoT products to protect smart devices from cyberattacks. The assessment specification ETSI TS 103 701 is used as a conformity test to evaluate if IoT devices comply with this standard. This is an example of one of the test methods for standard conformity. For manufacturers, an IT security label can be issued by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in Germany for consumer IoT products that confirm to the standard. Additionally, regulatory initiatives play a vital role in enhancing consumer protection. An example of this is the UK Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Act.

Integrating cloud and edge computing is another challenge in the consumer IoT ecosystem. While cloud computing offers vast storage and powerful processing capabilities, it can introduce latency and dependency on stable internet connections, which are not always guaranteed. Edge computing, on the other hand, processes data locally on the device or nearby, reducing latency and bandwidth usage. However, it requires significant computing power and efficient management of local resources.

Partners Spezialized in Consumer IoT Solutions

Outlook – Next-Level Consumer IoT

The future of consumer IoT will see the advancement of AI and machine learning, in addition to the increasing use of 5G connectivity, and the further development of autonomous vehicles.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

An emerging trend in the future of consumer IoT is the deeper integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies will enable IoT devices to process and analyze data more intelligently, leading to enhanced automation and personalization. For instance, smart home systems will learn user behaviors and preferences over time, optimizing energy usage, security settings, and even daily routines without manual intervention.

5G Connectivity

The rollout of 5G technology will continue to boost the capabilities of consumer IoT devices. With its high-speed, low-latency connectivity, 5G will facilitate real-time data transmission and support a larger number of connected devices simultaneously. This advancement will enable more complex IoT ecosystems, such as smart cities and autonomous vehicles, to function efficiently. Consumers will benefit from faster, more reliable connections for their smart devices. This will improve the performance of applications like streaming, remote monitoring, and interactive gaming.

Connected Vehicles

Connected vehicles will feature advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), real-time diagnostics, and enhanced infotainment options. Autonomous driving technology will rely heavily on IoT to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure, improving safety and efficiency on the roads. Consumers will experience more personalized and safer driving experiences, with vehicles that can adapt to their preferences and driving habits.

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