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Connecting Things to the Internet Does Not an Internet of Things Make

Connecting Things to the Internet Does Not an Internet of Things Make

My article on the Internet of Things was published on All Things D today.  In it, I discuss whether connecting your device to the Internet means you are part of the “Internet of Things.”  I posit that Internet of Things should be the realization of devices becoming smarter from sharing context and information from one another.  It should bring continuous computing to fruition, whereby information that matter to you can follow you, regardless of the physical devices available

Truth is, I was tired of reading about how every single thing is getting connected to the “cloud.”  Every IOT related tech piece these days talks about the next, hot “internet connected” thing, be it a light switch or a door lock or sneakers.  Yes, Yes, I know. There are already many more computing devices in the world than there are people.  And in just a few short years, the number of “things” that have some intelligence and connectivity added to them will climb into the billions (& trillions, according to Mickey McManus, CEO and Principle of MAYA).

But since there really is not one cloud, devices that live in their own siloed cloud cannot speak to one another, meaning they cannot benefit from the data, context or control of nearby IoT devices.

The Internet of Things should enable one thing to learn and collecting data from other nearby  devices; imagine when intelligence and sensing can start to come from beyond the phone itself — when information from your appliances or your car or your garage door opener can provide this “contextual intelligence.

The Internet of Things should enable sharing of control across devices.

The Internet of Things should not go down when one Thing’s cloud service is down.  What happens if external access to the Internet goes down? Does that mean that these smart devices lose all of their “smarts”?

The Internet of Things should not mean that every time I walk in and out of my house or flush my toilet, someone is tracking that information in the cloud.  What about privacy?   What if I want some devices to keep the data they collect locally on my personal network and not shared externally on the Internet?

What about countries where people must pay per MB of data and where all-you-can-eat data plans for the home do not exist?  Would they then want each appliance and connected device to continuously upload data, trends, analytics, etc.?   These are the complexities often overlooked in many of the initial IOT devices today.  But these complexities must and will be address as the Internet of Everything scales and evolves.

The Internet Of Things should allow for both proximal, personal clouds as well as the big Internet.

If you want to read more, check out the All Things D article.  Are you working in this space?  If so, I’d love to hear your opinions.

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