IoT for Peace of Mind (2017)

By Arun Ravisankar, Comcast Corporation

The telecommunications industry is hard at work to innovate, design and develop products that help consumers. What does a consumer look for when he/she plans to introduce a new product into his/her lifestyle? For example, the advent of smartphones changed the way mobile phones were used and perceived. What did these smartphones offer that influenced a paradigm shift in the industry? Mainly they led to a new era of computing. The influx of many applications helped solve some of the important, yet not necessarily critical, needs of consumers. The “app store” became a crucial platform where application developers and consumers could interact and share views. The main contributions of these technologies in consumers’ lives were ease of use, and, importantly, exposure to various tools that made life easier. One thing that the consumer looks for in any technology or product is “peace of mind.” Although the term “peace of mind” is decidedly subjective, it will be one of the major driving factors in product development, and is enormously applicable for the Internet of Things (IoT.) For example:

  • It would be immensely helpful for a consumer to know that his/her home is secure, while the family is out on a vacation. Design goal: That family members could remotely monitor the house and thus be less worried about security.
  • Beyond “just” security, the IoT can help making lives safe and efficient, with reduced anxiety. A busy mother would be relieved to know that she could check or turn off the stove remotely and need not worry about having left it on. Likewise, for that moment of fear about the garage door: Did I remember to shut it? And, from an efficiency point of view: Managing energy costs with smart bulbs and thermostats.

When IoT is applied to health and wellness applications, the peace of mind impact that the technology brings to the consumer is enormous. According to Forbes, “it costs families more to care for a frail older adult than to raise a child for the first 17 years of life.” This is a growing concern. An AARP publication reported in late 2015 that the population of adults 85 and older in the U.S. will roughly triple between 2015 and 2060 – making it the fastest-growing age group over this time.

Apart from Eldercare, the IoT will help individuals to track personal health and well-being, with the use of various fitness-based devices. In examining the most prevalent home security and tele-health providers,one thing is paramount: Providing “peace of mind.” Figure 1 illustrates how this premise surfaces in brand marketing.

In this paper, we examine how IoT technologies can offer solutions to consumers to enhance lifestyles.

This includes connectivity technologies, use cases and the perspective of a cable Multiple System Operators (MSO.)

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