IoT, Internet of Things, Connected Home, Connected Car, the list of labels for the “Next Big Thing(s)” goes on for pages. But it’s missing something, a critical ingredient that mainstream tech companies have been glossing over for years, the Human. We have not yet be subjugated by Skynet nor been brought low some rampant AI deciding humans are best as batteries to fuel their galactic ambition. We’re here, in the flesh more often than not, increasingly nurturing the growing network of “Internet Things” that are nosing their ways into our lives. These IoT 1.0 devices are more needy than a colicky baby crossed with a full litter of hungry Chihuahua puppies, demanding our attention to keep them charged, responding to notifications, answering deep philosophical questions like “Which John Cusak Movie Are You Mostly Like to Get Trapped In An Alternative Universe In?”, consuming more and more of our mindshare.
(Sorry Twitter just pinged me to ask if I knew Barak Obama and if I’d like to follow him)
This has to stop. IoT will stall out and fail if we don’t stop and address the needs of the Internet of Humans first. A house full of smart sensors is terrifying, not because of the privacy concerns, but because each of these devices will increasingly rely on me to take care of them in order for their massive marketing message of big data enabled domestic bliss to eventually reach sentience, I mean fruition. Think about it, one of the most returned items in consumer electronics is the WiFi router, typically in working order, because the market continually fails to design one that is foolproof to set up. A common consumer complaint we see in our tracking of connected devices at Argus Insights is the initial set up of the internet pipe to any connected device, being set-top box, smart thermostat, automatic cat feeder, or political pollster targeting Nerf gun.
(sorry my refrigerator just asked if I could move the WiFi router so it can update it’s firmware)
The gnashing of teeth by befuddled users crossing the desert of connectivity to reach to promised connected home of their dreams bleeds through their narratives to the rest of the market as fair warning. Then, once it’s set up, there is a never ending symphony of firmware or mobile app updates to orchestrate. Each new IoT device carries with it a custom app to sit along with the other stand alone apps on my increasingly dumb and slow smartphone as each of these “walled garden” apps independently requests more information than necessary and consumes by data plan by oversharing with the mothership how many cheerios were in my bowl this morning. Apple’s Homekit hopes to corral all of these disparate siloed experiences inside their walled garden in neat rows but that view continues the only work for part of the market.
(sorry, got pinged again, this time because my neighborhood social network decided I needed to see another notification about a lemonade stand someone set up last week)
I don’t mind if the value I receive from the relationship with my IoT devices outweighs the psychic, financial and yes, at times, emotional cost of maintaining these devices. We aren’t there yet with most products. And until we start designing for the Internet of Humans™, the growth of the Internet of Things market will be limited by the bandwidth of most important link in the value chain, us. That’s what we do at Argus Insights, analyze and monitor the Internet of Humans™. That means our clients are poised to win out over those that are ignoring IoH in the coming struggle between connected devices and connected humans.
(gotta run, the automatic bird feeder is tweeting that it’s being ravaged by squirrels again)