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The Internet of Things has a vision problem

Rob Enderle | Feb. 1, 2016
With the IoT, we desperately need a common vision of a tomorrow and a critical mass of folks to believe enough to make happen, writes columnist Rob Enderle.

Making security a driver not a problem

Currently security is becoming a huge impediment to IoT because of concerns surrounding attackers using this access to destroy a company, home, or nation.   With sensors and focused analytics it could become a solution for the security problems constantly looking for both physical and electronic anomalies. With this approach, instead of being blocked by a problem that needs to be overcome, the technology is focused on correcting an existing security problem and security gets baked in up front as a result. This effectively falls into the “if given Lemons make Lemonade” category.  

IoT needs a true showcase

What I think we are really lacking with IoT is a compelling showcase or example of how life would improve in an IoT world or company. It was an effort like this created by Disney and GE for the 1964 World’s Fair called the Carousel of Progress that did a nice job of showcasing how technology very much like IoT could make the cities of tomorrow more compelling. In many ways it helped focus the world on a common vision on how to apply technology to create a more powerful result.  

A later effort, the Monsanto House of the Future focused more on home automation, but showcased technologies, including a robotic vacuum cleaner, that would emerge decades later (an interesting side note is that this house was nearly indestructible, something that came as a bit of a surprise to the wrecking ball operator who tried to first destroy it in 1967). But this effort desperately needs a vision that talks about the benefits and not just the technology and security risks to advance to its true potential.

We need a common vision to make IoT successful

While I may sound negative I’m a huge fan of the underlying concept behind IoT, much like I was about the home and industrial automation years earlier. I’m actually on my fourth Smarthome. The thing is, we often get more excited in the technology industry about the technology and forget that real people have to love this stuff if they are going to invest in it. How can it be used to make people safer, more productive, happier, less stressed out, more efficient and, of course, save money. Too often we focus too much on the how and not enough of the compelling parts of the why and then we’re surprised at how slowly advancement occurs.   In short more iPad less Windows tablet.

With a dream we made it to the moon in a few years, but when we lost the dream Mars became unattainable. With IoT we desperately need a common vision of a tomorrow and a critical mass of folks to believe enough to make happen. Without that this simply becomes another effort to push technology to group of buyers who are more defined by their unwillingness to change than in their desire to create a better company and world.

 

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