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Why democratizing IoT is essential for its survival

Every day companies are hearing about the internet of things — maybe it’s inquiries from their customers, their board, their investors or the like. These groups are hearing the market projections and seeing examples of how IoT is changing business for the better, and they want to get in on it. The problem is that for the most part, IoT feels only achievable to those companies with unlimited resources to make it happen.  Unlimited research and development budgets, unlimited resources, unlimited ability to make mistakes and try again. These requirements leave out 90% of the companies out there. And even the remaining 10% that are ambitious enough to embark on an IoT journey quickly encounter technology and development hurdles that stall or even cancel their IoT projects.

This is a big problem for our industry. IoT has been this futuristic concept for years. We’ve been dreaming about a connected world ever since George Jetson pulled up that first video chat with Mr. Spacely. Nearly half a century later, we are finally to a point where some form of the Jetson reality can become ours. We have the know-how to create a connected world, but adoption is growing slower than any of us would like. And there is a good reason for that: It doesn’t feel accessible for companies looking to start connected product projects, and it doesn’t yet feel like a necessity for people buying them.

Let’s dig in on that a bit deeper.

Because of the small number of companies that have resources to put toward IoT projects, there are only a few examples making their way onto store shelves. We see smart products — like Nest Thermostats or the Tesla car — and think “that’s cool,” because connected products aren’t everywhere yet. Right now, there are so many “gadgets” making their way to market, but they don’t all work together. Because companies are willing to connect anything — whether the product adds value or not, IoT is still viewed as a novelty rather than a way of life.

In order to deliver on the true promise of IoT, more companies need to be able to see their IoT visions come to life. There are still way too many companies sitting on the sidelines looking at IoT as an insurmountable challenge. It’s up to the vendor community to democratize IoT and make it more available and accessible to companies of all sizes. The more brainpower we have out there connecting products, working with standards and showing the real value of IoT, the quicker we’ll see real mainstream adoption from consumers and businesses alike. Then, larger concepts like connected cities can become real-life.

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