Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ingestible sensor could adjust home thermostat within five years, says Ericsson

Steve Rogerson
June 14, 2016
An ingestible sensor that tracks body temperature and adjusts the thermostat setting automatically once the person arrives home may be a reality within five years, according to Ericsson.
However, the report from the Swedish company found that personal safety and security will be more important than health and fitness in the wearables market. Six in ten of the smartphone users surveyed said that wearables had uses beyond health and wellness. Devices related to personal safety and security, such as panic buttons and personal locators, attract most interest.
Top five most-wanted wearables across five markets surveyed were:

  1. Panic or SOS button (32%)
  2. Smartwatch (28%)
  3. Wearable location tracker (27%)
  4. Identity authenticator (25%)
  5. Wearable water purifier (24%)
The report captured the opinions of 5000 smartphone users of which 2500 were wearable users in Brazil, China, South Korea, UK and USA, representing the views of 280 million smartphone users globally.
In addition to the top five most-wanted wearables, it shows consumers predict a booming wearables market beyond 2020, as well as that wearables might replace smartphones and will help consumers interact with physical things and objects in the IoT era.
Ownership of wearables among smartphone users in the surveyed markets has doubled in the past year. However, consumers predict it will take at least another year for the current generation of wearables to go mainstream.
A more diverse set of wearables, such as personal safety devices and smart garments, will go mainstream beyond 2020, but when they do, a booming market can be expected. One in three smartphone users believe they will use at least five connected wearables beyond 2020.
The integration of smartphones into every aspect of daily life makes it hard to envisage a future without them. But with two in five (43%) smartphone users expecting wearables might replace smartphones, this could indeed happen, although it may take some time. As wearables get smarter and more independent in terms of factors such as connectivity, the smartphone screen may become less significant. Wearables will be used to perform most smartphone functions within just five years, say 38% of smartphone users.
"Early signs of detachment from smartphones are visible today with 40 per cent of today's smartwatch users already interacting less with their smartphones,” said Jasmeet Singh Sethi, consumer insight expert at Ericsson Consumer Lab.
Wearable technology will also accelerate the convergence of the digital and human worlds, by bringing people into the IoT. While consumers are confident that wearable technology will help them interact with objects in their surroundings, they also say this technology may not necessarily be devices. Six out of ten believe that ingestible pills and chips under the skin will be commonly used in the next five years, not only to track vital health data, but also to unlock doors, authenticate transactions and identity, and to control objects.
Already today, a quarter of smartwatch owners use their smartwatch to control remotely other digital devices at home, and three in ten use voice search on their smartwatches.
Sing Sethi added: "Although consumers show greatest interest in devices related to safety, we also see an openness to wearable technology further away from today's generation. In five years' time, walking around with an ingestible sensor, which tracks your body temperature and adjusts the thermostat setting automatically once you arrive home, may be a reality."