With a new year comes a new raft of predictions for what might unfold within it. PerformanceIN has been speaking with marketing experts in a number of disciplines to gauge their thoughts on what could make 2016 a groundbreaking year for their space.

In this piece, Omi Ducat, VP business and client development at wayve, predicts that 2016 will be the year that the power of the internet of things will be revealed.

The internet of things (IoT) is already far bigger than we give it credit for.  It is quietly revolutionising numerous industries, including healthcare, manufacturing agriculture, and transport to name just a few. During 2016, its true potential will be realised as the IoT goes mainstream and becomes an accepted part of consumer lives.    

The IoT concept is far from new – the first connected toaster was announced at a conference in 1989. But continuous advances in technology mean computing devices are now smaller and cheaper to produce, and wireless technology is becoming increasingly widespread, laying the groundwork for connected devices to become ubiquitous. The era of the connected juggernaut is finally with us, so what else will 2016 bring for the IoT? 

Well, massive investments are expected in IoT over the next five years, resulting in significant developments to the connected ecosystem. Gartner predicts 5.5 million new devices will be connected to the IoT every day during 2016, meaning 6.4 billion devices will be in use worldwide by the end of the year.  Last week’s CES event formed a platform for companies to launch their connected devices. Highlights included a talking car from Ford, an interactive fridge from Samsung with an in-built virtual grocery store, and L’Oreal’s new UV-sensing wearable patch. 

Developments in IoT are starting close to home, with the ‘connected home’ becoming a prevalent concept.  A study by Accenture found that 13% of homes already have one or more IoT devices and predicts that 69% will have an IoT device by 2019.  Companies such as the Google-owned Nest are key players in pushing messages around the connected home, and Samsung announced that 90% of its devices will have internet connectivity by 2017, rising to 100% by 2020. The use of connected heating, lighting and security systems has already begun, but will inevitably become more commonplace. Adoption of smart home appliances such as connected fridges is somewhat slower, but is expected to see a sharp rise this year, and who knows, Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year’s resolution of building an AI butler may soon become widespread reality. 

The ‘connected user’ is another concept that is rapidly gaining traction. Apple is leading the way in smart watches, with sales of the Apple Watch six times higher than the nearest competitor, and fitness monitors are already popular for tracking health and exercise. Smart garments such as sports shirts are now emerging from the test phase and are likely to be a significant growth area over the coming year. 

With the use of these technologies, consumers’ daily routines, whereabouts, preferences, and everyday habits will be known and recorded by their devices. The ethics of this depth of knowledge is a topic that’s up for debate, but it will certainly provide immense opportunities for marketers. Constant connectivity and the learnings gained from consumer data will result in a dramatic shift in communication and advertising channels, as marketers strive to deliver a more relevant and personalised ad experience.

The world is becoming smarter, whether we’re ready for it or not, and the next 12 months will see massive strides forward in connected living. Far from being a futuristic concept, the IoT is becoming a tangible reality, and over the coming year the true power of connectivity will be revealed.