Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Xenia von Wedel, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Article

Seven Reasons Why the Internet of Things Is Doomed

Be careful with that thing or you’ll put someone’s eye out

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.

The 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

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...