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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Tyranny of Things? #IoT

Identity, Internet of Things
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
7:57 pm


I really enjoyed the post  Rohan Pinto tweeted about this morning – Scott Morrison’s “ We can’t let the Internet of Things become the Tyranny of Things.” Scott stated:

My belief is that the Internet of Things (IoT) will succeed or fail based on its capacity for creating its own economy. But counting devices and multiplying by people isn’t quite the right math to satisfy this equation. The real key to IoT success is how open – and more significantly, how accessible – the technology is to independent innovators.

I liked Scott’s examples of bad IoT design …

seemingly every year some earnest manufacturer actually demonstrates yet another realization of this dubious vision, which usually consists of little more than a screen stuck onto the door like some giant fridge magnet. This is IoT designed by a committee …

When I purchased my last TV, I also bought the same manufacturer’s BluRay player in the hope I could get away with one remote and hiding the latter in a closed cabinet. Boy, was I naïve.

… but his good examples were also instructive:

Take a walk into the living room and you will find an excellent example of IoT meeting its potential. IoT done right is the netfNest. A brilliant team of ex-Apple employees found a completely moribund corner of everyday technology and transformed it. They created an irresistible object of desire that quietly adapted a ponderous machine of steel and natural gas into an Internet connected device. It’s brilliant. … 

IoT done right is twiNetflix, an innovator that came up with an open API that allowed all manner of devices to integrate using simple web-based protocols. Netflix could have easily screwed this one up. They might have decided to design arcane, binary protocols optimized to support minimalist devices. Instead, they opted for open and well-documented APIs that leverage existing web understanding. The effect was to make integration accessible instead of intimidating – and in doing so, Netflix tapped into a vast developer population. The result was a Cambrian explosion of applications and devices streaming the service. You would be hard pressed to find a modern TV, disk player, or media streamer that doesn’t now have a Netflix logo somewhere on the box.

Yep, I have a plethora of ways to connect to Netflix at my house. I haven’t yet invested in the four Next thermostats I would need to control the four AC zones in my house, but two of my sons have them.

In closing, Scott challenges us:

It’s time to worry less about trying to make the Internet of Things something different. Instead, we need to focus on making it more of the same, more like, well, the internet. Declare IoT open, base it on APIs, and then step back and watch the engine of Silicon Valley engage.

Well spoken, Scott. And thanks for introducing me to that eminently hashtaggable acronym: #IoT.

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