Ars Technica recently hosted a live chat about the Internet of Things. Surprise, surprise – nobody wanted it, nobody thought it was useful, nobody trusted it:
Today, Cyrus Farivar and I hosted a live chat about the future of the Internet of Things (IoT). We didn’t get to all the questions that were posted within the time that we had, and we barely scraped the surface on the topic’s many angles. But the response of Ars readers seemed almost universal—’we do not want Internet in our stuff, thanks.’
“My refrigerator is supposed to keep things cold, [and] it does not need an Internet connection to do so,” said Ars reader ProfessorGuy. Reader Gmerrick concurred. “Quite frankly IoT has zero place in my life. I have no requirement to have a connected coffee pot, or know when I am running out of eggs, or low on milk. I think I have the brain power and the MK1 eyeball to manually do this stuff. the incessant need to put a computer of some sort into stuff is solutions hunting for problems to solve.”
Of course, the major feature of IoT that some readers cued in on was how it was a tool for companies to create vendor lock-in. “Even if we charitably focus on the stuff that might actually be handy (if mostly not worth the price at present) like ‘smart’ lighting and such,” wrote fuzzyfuzzyfungus, “the state of the market is an absolutely ghastly morass of various players jockying to build walled gardens that ‘interoperate’ as long as you never leave them, devices that are ‘smart’ only in the sense that they include a lousy mobile app; but are wholly unsuitable for any sort of useful integration; and devices that are built on the assumption (generally not modifiable without deep firmware modification) that the vendor will, forever, be the aggregation and command-and-control center of the operation, and you’ll just have an account with them.”
Combine those sentiments with the almost total lack of security, lack of a compelling probelm to be solved, the thread of even more unwanted advertising, added expense for zero benefit, government’s salivating at the prospect of more spy points in your house… consumer IoT is destined to be an expensive failure. Which would be a good thing.