Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Hand and facial gesture control to take off in connected device sector: ABI

Iain Morris
October 23, 2014
Touchscreen user interfaces are set to become a less dominant means of controlling connected devices in the next five years, according to a new study from ABI Research, which says that voice, gesture, eye-tracking and even neural will flourish as more sensors are introduced to mainstream products and new form factors emerge.

“Touch got mobile device usability to where it is today, but touch will become one of many interfaces for future devices as well as for new and future markets,” said Jeff Orr, a senior practice director with ABI. “The really exciting opportunity arrives when multiple user interfaces are blended together for entirely new experiences.”

The market-research company reckons hand and facial gesture recognition will experience the strongest growth among user-interface methods in future smartphone and tablet shipments, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 30% and 43% respectively between 2014 and 2019.

It also believes the impact of user-interface innovation in mobile devices will be felt across a wide range of applications, including emerging technologies in the car and in smart homes.

Even so, the user interface will need to be kept simple enough to be intuitive, cautions ABI, as mobile applications integrate more technology.

“Packing a mobile device with sensors goes little beyond being a novelty,” said Orr. “Complexity contradicts good UI design and a critical mass of engaging mobile applications are required for mainstream adoption.”

That balancing act is best seen in the automotive sector, says ABI, where numerous subsystems are working with the driver to ensure the vehicle arrives at its destination.

The research also points out that key components are evolving from single-function elements into multi-sensor, single-chip packages.

That is benefitting the hand-held form factor and has also become the premise for the leading commercially available wearable devices.

But with multiple sensors and gadgets working in real-time to gather data from individuals and the surrounding environment, there is a clear risk that complexity will increase, as individuals look to personalize their own experiences.
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