Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Seven Reasons Why the Internet of Things is Doomed

To paraphrase the immortal Facebook sage, there are three things in this world I hate: 1. Articles about buzzwords; 2: Irony; and 3: Lists. Let us therefore proceed with all due irony to list our derogations of one of the buzziest: the Internet of Things, known to aficionados and curmudgeons alike as the IoT.

offThe IoT explosion is rather curious if you think about it, as the Internet has been with us now for nigh on two decades, and everything connected to it has always been some kind of thing. But now it seems every kind of thing from dishwashers to doorknobs require an Internet connection, since after all, we all know our dishwashers have long harbored a pent up desire for scintillating conversation with our doorknobs.

Today, the IoT itself is a Thing – a Thing Worth Talking About it seems, from all the conferences, confabs, and conversations it elicits. Because as we all know, where there’s attention, buckets of cash soon follow, and even the most egregious ideas end up with their piece of the pie if only the caterwauling is loud enough. Yet while hype is good for business in the short term, there’s this annoying little problem we call reality that has an inconvenient habit of throwing water all over our Wicked Witch of Inflated Expectations. So, get me a bucket, and here goes.

Why IoT is Doomed #1: Security

We all know the everyday computer gear that vendors have been churning out for the aforementioned two decades have matured sufficiently to prevent any kind of security breach, so it should be no problem at all to transfer that unbreakable technology to the various sensors and controls we now want to scatter about our homes, our cars, and our factories.

What’s that you say? Even our most mature, robust technology simply rolls over and kowtows any time a script kiddie with a free hacker tool decides to poke around a bit? Today that selfsame kiddie has no problem at all hacking our baby monitors and laptop cameras, which should send a chill up the spine of any online porn aficionado or parent (and for all you porn-loving parents, fuggedaboutit).

Today, the most common IoT sensor is the lowly RFID tag, found in everything from store merchandise to warehouse equipment to passports to that “security” (ahem) badge that gets you into your office at night. And what kind of security does that tag sport? Nada. Nothing. Zilch. And you don’t even have to touch the thing to hack it. Simply being in the general vicinity is good enough. Not like your passport is ever in the general vicinity of lowlife like you find in passport lines at airports.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Why IoT is Doomed #2: Privacy – And no, that’s not the same as security

Even if you can somehow secure that baby monitor and keep the perv down the street from spying on your little bubby boo, there’s still the problem that a lot of these IoT devices are supposed to spy on you. Why do you think there are so many buckets of cash pouring into the IoT hope-to-be-a-market? The Big Corporations don’t expect to make a big profit on the devices themselves, oh no. News flash: the Big Money in IoT is in Big Data. As in, Big Data about everything those sensors are learning about you and your nasty habits that you hide from your neighbors.

The value of Big Data, after all, aren’t the data themselves. “Fred’s car told Fred’s thermostat to turn on Fred’s hot tub” doesn’t interest anybody but Fred and perhaps his hot date (if he’s lucky). The value in Big Data, you see, are in the patterns. What shows you watch. What apps you use. Which ads influence your buying behavior. The more IoT you have, the more Big Data they collect, and the more Big Data they collect, the more they know about how you behave. And once they know how you behave, they know how to control how you behave. And that brings us to #3.

Why IoT is Doomed #3: Digital Fatigue

Remember back in the good old days, when the trusty old rabbit ears picked up three stations, and phones were attached to the wall? You do? Consider yourself old then. But it’s not just us gray hairs who actually used rabbit ears who pine for the good old days of not being quite so wired as we are today.

You don’t have to follow all the angry tweets about Facebook’s latest mind control scheme to realize that people are getting fed up. Too much social media, too many smartphones, too many YouTube videos to watch, too many apps to download, too much of everything digital and wired and online. We can’t even go for a lovely stroll in Antarctica for heaven’s sake without checking Twitter every five minutes. What the hell is wrong with us, anyway?

Now along comes the IoT, promising to connect the Internet to our eyeglasses and our wristwatches and our thermostats and our appliances and our streetlights and on and on. Can’t we just download a big-ass OFF switch so we can hear ourselves freakin’ THINK for once? Please?

Why IoT is Doomed #4: Ecosystems

Ecosystems? How could there be anything wrong with a back-to-nature, tree-hugging ecosystem? Well, I’m not talking about natural ecosystems here. I’m talking about their evil twin, technology ecosystems.

Case in point: smartphone ecosystems. In this corner we have Apple iPhone. It has its own programming environment with its own throng of developers coding apps for the iPhone App Store that only run on the iPhone. And in that corner: Google Android, with all the same stuff, only it all requires Google under the covers.

Both Apple and Google, of course, make billions of dollars this way (yes, Billion with a B, Dr. Evil!) But consumers have to choose: which ecosystem do they want to sell their soul to? Because once we consumers pick a side, it’s very difficult to cut the ties that bind us to our choice. And for all you Windows Phone or BlackBerry fans out there? Sorry Charlie, you bet on the nag that went lame in the back stretch.

With the IoT we’re back to square one, and the Apples and Googles of the world know that the spoils will go to the winners of the ecosystem wars. Only now it’s anybody’s game again, so we have a plethora of vendors, both large and small, jumping into the fray and trying to establish a foothold, in hopes of either creating their own ecosystem (for the startups) or extending their existing one (for the behemoths).

Don’t be fooled. Sure, all the IoT techies may be talking about open standards, in the hopes that all my doohickeys can seamlessly interoperate with all of your gewgaws. But open standards are nothing more than big sticks for beating weaker ecosystems into submission – and that turns us, the poor consumer, into collateral damage.

Why IoT is Doomed #5: No Killer App

One day nobody heard of an iPad. The next day everybody wanted an iPad. The day after that, everybody had an iPad. That’s what we mean by a Killer App: something everybody wants the moment they hear about it.

So far, the IoT has no Killer App. Are you lining up for Google Glass? What about a refrigerator that orders milk, or a car that turns on your hot tub? No? Didn’t think so.

Of course, the Killer App could be just around the corner. They have a nasty habit of appearing on the market suddenly with no warning, after all. But so far, we ain’t got nuttin’.

Why IoT is Doomed #6: Enterprises will Screw the Pooch

Sure, Web Scale companies and cash-rich Silicon Valley startups are all over the IoT. But what about your bank or big box retailer or manufacturer? Sure, they want to play with the cool kids too. If only it weren’t for all that legacy technology that’s weighing them down! As I wrote about in my previous Cortex newsletter, established enterprises may attempt to relegate their IoT efforts to their swashbuckling Digital Transformation initiatives, thus separating them from the mundanities of their existing technology. Only one problem: their existing technology is what runs their business. Digital Transformation may be the frosting, but the existing business, legacy and all, is the cake.

Sorry, folks. No playing with the cool kids until you finish your homework, and while you’re at it, eat all your Brussels sprouts too. For an enterprise to succeed with the IoT or any other part of their Digital Transformation initiative, there are no shortcuts – only hard work. But even hard work will get you nowhere if you’re not working on the right problems. Architecture, anyone?

Why IoT is Doomed #7: Vendors smell blood in the water, only the blood is yours

The answer to many of these problems (or at least, a hint at how we might come up with an answer) is to put the consumer in control of the IoT. Let the consumer control the security of each device. Let us determine what data the devices upload to the Big Companies. Let us set the priorities for the standards efforts. Let us turn the damn things off when we need some peace and quiet already.

In your dreams! There’s no way to fix all the problems of IoT because fixing the problems means putting the consumer in control, and the consumer would promptly turn off precisely those features that are making the VCs, entrepreneurs, and pundits salivate. Remember, the Big Money is in using the IoT to control (or at least, influence) consumer behavior – and if we as consumers could simply turn off those features that let the Big Companies make money off of us, then they’d have no reason to build out the IoT in the first place.

The Intellyx Take

Do I really think the Internet of Things is doomed, or do I believe there are solutions to these problems? I consider myself an optimist, especially when it comes to technological progress, but my core prediction is that the IoT will struggle to find its way. It will eventually arrive, but not in the forms that people envision today. The battle for who will control the IoT, the vendors or the customers, will bring to a head many of the concerns people have over the influence technology already has in our lives.

And what about the Industrial Internet? The IoT includes M2M, right? No, not Mary Tyler Moore, M2M is Machine-to-Machine, as in factory equipment and power plant turbines and locomotives and such. Sorry to disappoint – but the Industrial Internet is really quite different than the IoT this article has been skewering. The difference? Nobody in their right mind would actually put a turbine or a locomotive on the Internet – that is, the phishing-crazy, porn-laden, NSA-targeted Internet we all know and love. That’s what private networks are for. Right?

In the end, the IoT is a tool, just as all technology are tools. Tools can be used well or poorly, for good or for evil. And people are always going for the big bucks by building a better mousetrap – but the best mousetrap in the world won’t sell if your customers have a weasel infestation, of if they simply like their mice the way they are, thank you very much.

And anyway, all this hullabaloo about the IoT misses the entire point. Whether we talk about the things we’re connecting to the IoT, or the IoT itself, never forget that tools themselves are just things – and this story isn’t really about things at all. Peel away all the buzzwords and hype, and you’ll find that the Internet of Things is the Internet of People – an extraordinarily powerful communication and commerce tool, but a tool in human hands nevertheless. Be careful with that thing or you’ll put someone’s eye out.

Image credit: Kyle Slattery

Read the original blog entry...

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Twistlock, the leading provider of cloud container security solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Twistlock is the industry's first enterprise security suite for container security. Twistlock's technology addresses risks on the host and within the application of the container, enabling enterprises to consistently enforce security policies, monitor...
Interested in leveling up on your Cloud Foundry skills? Join IBM for Cloud Foundry Days on June 7 at Cloud Expo New York at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Foundry Days is a free half day educational conference and networking event. Come find out why Cloud Foundry is the industry's fastest-growing and most adopted cloud application platform.
For financial firms, the cloud is going to increasingly become a crucial part of dealing with customers over the next five years and beyond, particularly with the growing use and acceptance of virtual currencies. There are new data storage paradigms on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive financial data around the world without touching terrestrial networks. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Cliff Beek, President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, w...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, will present several current, end-user environments that are using object storage at scale for cloud deployments including private cloud and cloud providers. Details on the top considerations of features and functions for selecting object storage will be included. Brad will also touch on recent developments in tiering technologies that deliver single solution and an end-user view of data across files and objects...
IBM helps FinTechs and financial services companies build and monetize cognitive-enabled financial services apps quickly and at scale. Hosted on IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform builds in customer insights, regulatory compliance analytics and security to help reduce development time and testing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Tom Eck, Industry Platforms CTO at IBM Cloud, will discuss how these tools simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration, allowing developers ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assis...
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...