The Internet of Things -- Nothing to See Here, Move Along

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  • New announcements -- here comes the Internet of Things.  We've been treated lately to a plethora of pronouncements about the arrival of the Internet of Things. And it is true that we all know that if stuff can transmit, stuff likes to transmit, even if there is nobody listening to the transmission. Compelling examples of this IoT? Forbes: "Thermostat adjusting the temperature of your home after you leave. Another example is a GPS device pinging you automatically with an alternative route if there is a traffic jam on the way to work." Wow. Apple and Google will, of course, be really, really big in the IoT. Not to miss out, Microsoft and the Cloud will be big too.  And  just to tangle up the office, your business processes will change.
  • Too hard to type -- an acronym (IoT) makes it real. Once the next new things make it to the acronym stage, they enter that more advanced stage, projected market inter-galactic sizings, interminable meetings and discussions about standards, ecosystem hangers-on and hand-wringing worry about vendor lock-in and future predictions. Of course, forecasts mean there is consulting money to be made, and importantly, if possible, by big firms. As has been proven so many times, large organizations like to hedge their technology bets and hire consulting firms to help them with strategy --so that they may be well-protected if the big strategy turns out to fizzle. (Not our fault, blame the consultants!)
  • Poor IT -- the IoT, right after BYOD.  You have to feel just a bit sorry for the IT folks out there -- the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) nightmare of struggling to set up, serve and protect multiple smartphone and tablet models spewing updates ever more quickly.  And last year those were the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things! The help desk folks are now equipped with faster tennis shoes, running from one network closet to the desk of yet another baffled user (YABU), then over to the closet filled with defunct devices, waiting to be recycled.
  • The Internet of Things is so yesteryear. Things have been tweeting away (yeah, pre-Twitter) for years. The Internet of things was discussed elegantly in a 2001 Forrester X-Internet  report (yeah, that was 13 years ago!). The vendors have changed but the concepts were well-documented by Forrester greats Carl Howe and George Colony. And it has taken years of miniaturization, speed improvements, proliferation of devices, big data management of all of the noise from all of these devices, industry by industry. There was a vision then for an Internet of Things and so there are visions now. But in many ways, the vision is unchanged -- though the tweeting of stuff has turned into overwhelming noise.
  • There is no app for the Internet of all things. In the end, it is all about the missing trustworthy app. How will businesses and consumers be able to tolerate and harness all of the noise? How will our noises be differentiated?  Do we REALLY want our thermostat to be reset when we're not in the house?  Whose just-updated mapping software do we trust to accurately tell us to take an alternate route before we ask? Do we really want a self-driving car that can follow these wrong directions -- streets have been there for years, but now, surprisingly, GPS Signal is Lost. And if you think I am kidding about not trusting an Internet of Things, you haven't experienced the shock of a new update.