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The ABCs of the Internet of Things

Patrick Thibodeau | May 7, 2014
What it is, how it works and why it may not succeed

What's the worst case scenario?

That a true coordination between multiple devices never comes to pass. Vendors, initially, will build islands, closed IoT environments that only work with their products and those made by selected partners. Privacy protections may be treated loosely, with users forced to opt out if they don't want their home turned into a giant spy cam for marketers.

We haven't even mentioned things like Google Glass. Imagine a scenario where people agree to share live streams as part of a Neighborhood Block Watch. A surveillance state may arrive on a flood of good intentions. But the IoT has potential to make life more efficient, safer, healthier and environmentally friendly.

In particular, people who install solar energy systems and use net metering, essentially selling surplus energy back to the utility, will have powerful reasons to install aware and connected systems. But whether these systems can work together will depend on the willingness of vendors to make their products connectable. There is no vendor large enough to control the IoT, but there are vendors large enough to make a mess of it.

 

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