The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications. The interconnection of these embedded devices (including smart objects), is expected to usher in automation in nearly all fields, while also enabling advanced applications like a Smart Grid.
Things, in the Internet of Things, refers to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, automobiles with built-in sensors, or field operation devices that assist fire-fighters in search and rescue. Current retail market examples include the NEST Smart Thermostat systems and washer/dryers that utilize wifi for remote monitoring.
According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (Internet of Everything) by 2020.
Integration with the Internet implies that devices will utilize an IP address as a unique identifier. However, due to the limited address space of IPv4 (which allows for 4.3 billion unique addresses), objects in the IoT will have to use IPv6 to accommodate the extremely large address space required. Objects in the IoT will not only be devices with sensory capabilities, but also provide actuation capabilities like light bulbs or locks controlled over the Internet).
So now let’s talk about what is sure to be the Internet of STUPID Things. It’s not that I don’t believe we shouldn’t be connecting more devices in the future, it’s just that this “Thing” is already being overdone with devices that have no real advantage to being connected to the internet.
Let’s take the light bulb. Even Mark Cuban of Shark Tank invested in a company making $90 light bulbs that dim and turn on with a smart phone app. Do we really need our light bulbs to have their own IP addresses so we can manage them from our cell phones? Most of us spend too much time looking at our cell phones as it is. And if texting and driving is a problem today – how about driving and adjusting the lights and the thermostat as you get closer to home.
Another “stupid” thing… connected toilets? Smart toilets sell for around $6,000 and believe it or not – hackers have already developed the means to hack them. I don’t really want to go there so I’ll let you search for it online – but don’t use Google to search because it’s tracking and cataloging all this stuff and everyone’s searches. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, use DuckDuckGo.com to search because they don’t track your searches.
How about connected waste barrels? Municipalities have been trying for decades to figure out when a barrel is full so they can empty it. With the Internet of Stupid Things – we’ll be able to send out trash trucks to empty each individual waste receptacle as they ping the servers saying they’re full. Sounds like a lot of trash to me…
Another stupid IoT is the Internet-enabled diaper. Even though I just became a proud, first time Grandfather, this seems really stupid to me… but then again, who wants to walk around with a load in their pants. I’m guessing this IoT will become a wonderful baby shower gift in the future.
We’ll also have connected refrigerators that email you when an item is running low as well as track when and for how long the door was opened last, pill bottles that flash when you don’t take your meds and connected slippers that radio back to a web server somewhere a person’s stability when walking in them.
I’m not convinced that connected light bulbs will take the world by storm because the old fashioned electrical switch still works, so does jiggling the handle on my toilet. And when one needs to check a diaper, your nose still works just fine.
The real winner with all these stupid things connected on the internet. As you might have guessed – Google – who will have a field day tracking everything we do and selling data and advertising around it.