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Sunday
Sep062015

Avoiding an Internet for (Useless) Things

When I hear about or read about the Internet of Things, I am both intrigued and appalled at the general lack of attention to the Industrial Internet, and an incredible number of what I consider an Internet of Consumer Things … or better put, an Internet for Consumer Things.  For that reason, I resonate completely with Allison Arieff in her NYT Sunday Review Op-Ed entitled: The Internet of Way Too Many Things

Arieff points out the distinctions between the Smart Home and the Smart City initiatives that rely on information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and generally to engage more effectively with citizenry and businesses

The move toward the Smart City — programs ranging from 311 to Comstat and sensor-enabled trash collection — is very much about using data to improve efficiency, reduce costs and make better use of resources. This has not carried over to the realm of the Smart Home; instead, the tendency has been to throw excess technological capability at every possible gadget without giving any thought to whether it’s really necessary.

After taking the Smart Home and the Internet of Consumer Things to task, her assessment comes down to this:

The Internet of Things is pitched as good for the consumer. But is it? At this point, it seems exceptionally awesome for those companies working on products for it. The benefit to the average homeowner pales dramatically in relation to the benefit for the companies poised to accumulate infinite amounts of actionable data. You and I benefit by determining whether our dog got enough exercise last Wednesday. Is that a fair tradeoff? Doesn’t feel like it

Agreed.  My advice is, first, that we stop calling this part of the industry the 'Internet of Things' and identify it for what it really is … and Internet for Consumer Things.  But more to the point, the ICT industry's attention should take seriously a charter of Smart Cities, Intelligent Infrastructure, and a true Industrial Internet

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