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Internet of Things Takes Center Stage at CES 2015

For the internet of things to be a success, it has to be open. Any device, from any platform, must be able to connect and communicate with one another,” declared Alex Hawkinson, co-founder and CEO of SmartThings, during the Samsung keynote at CES 2015.

With the dropping costs of building hardware and siloed software, the barrier to entry for IoT edge devices has dropped significantly in the past couple of years. What is perhaps the most fragmented market in history continues to expand as companies build platforms for their own devices. This created a sense of confusion at CES—for the press, developers, and even exhibitors—since everyone is trying to find their place in a space with so many options.

This year’s CES went on record as the biggest exhibition in the show’s 48 years. More than 170,000 industry professionals came to witness over 3,600 companies exhibit and demo their high-tech wares. Of those 3,600 companies, more than 900 were in the Internet of Things sector alone—more than any show in CES history!

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With promises of connecting everything from smart light bulbs and kitchen appliances to home security and even connected cars, many are curious to see how this vision of a Jetsons-esque world becomes reality. CEO and President of Samsung Co. Ltd. Boo-Keun Yoon’s keynote speech at CES addressed Samsung’s approach to the future of a connected world. Yoon stated that by 2017, 90 precent of Samsung devices will connect to the Internet of Things, with 100 percent connected by 2020. Although Apple was not present at this year’s show, the buzz about HomeKit spread like wildfire after the first official HomeKit-enabled devices, iDevices, were revealed.

Elsewhere on the exhibition floor, the “Works with Nest” developer program saw a lot of traction, with companies like Stack and Kwikset revealing their partnerships with the well-known smart thermostat company and their plans to integrate with Nest to add greater capabilities to their products. IoT groups like the OIC (Open Interconnect Consortium), the AllSeen Alliance, and the Thread Group are also gaining popularity as memberships continue to grow and contribute to both new frameworks and protocols. CES 2015 showed that the race to develop a standard for the Internet of Things has just begun.

Most consumers can agree on the need for a standardized IoT platform. No one wants to be constrained to one brand of smart devices for their home. And for those who want the freedom to customize their smart home or office, it’s about allowing the user to make any smart device work together regardless of brand or protocol. To survive in the IoT, it’s about who can work with the most, and that’s why “openness” has become such a prevalent discussion as the Internet of Things takes off.

What do you predict for CES 2016—a more or less unified IoT?

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