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
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
The cloud competition for database hosts is fierce. How do you evaluate a cloud provider for your database platform? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Chris Presley, a Solutions Architect at Pythian, gave users a checklist of considerations when choosing a provider. Chris Presley is a Solutions Architect at Pythian. He loves order – making him a premier Microsoft SQL Server expert. Not only has he programmed and administered SQL Server, but he has also shared his expertise and passion with b...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, discussed using predictive analytics to mon...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...