Sunday, November 24, 2013

He who has the most connected devices wins. Not.

Watching SmartThings' CTO Jeff Hagins TEDx presentation on #IoT adding value to people's lives made me wonder two things. First of all, if the CTO of an internet of things company has 132 connected devices, how many connected devices do I have at home. And secondly, how much value are these devices and applications actually adding to our lives.

The first question reminded me briefly of the bumper sticker I used to see: "She who has the most pairs of shoes wins". In IoT terms this would be "He/She who has the most connected devices wins". Thus, I made a list of the connected devices in our house:
  • 4 laptops
  • 5 smart phones
  • 1 tablet
  • 1 connected WII console
  • 1 web camera
  • 1 network attached storage device
  • 1 Aria weight scale
  • 1 Fitbit fitness tracker
  • 1 smart energy meter (although it is disconnected at the moment)
  • 1 smart meter (owned by PG&E). 
  • 3 media players
Total: 20.

I am obviously not winning. But fear not, Christmas is just around the corner. And let's not forget the batch of Tile devices I am awaiting to track my cat, my kids and ... ok .. I don't dare to add it my wife. However it would be great for her purse and phone. (I used to have a connected device gateway to control door sensors and lightbulbs, but as the gateway start-up went under so when the service to control the devices.)

How much value are these connected devices adding to our lives? I have to agree with Jeff Hagins: so far, these connected devices or their applications minimally impact my life. My webcam movement detection software is flawed and isn't very good at being a burglary detection solution. It does allow me to peak into my house every now and then. I don't really have any smart energy solution to speak of. The most useful application has been the connected Fitbit and Aria scale. I can easily track my weight. Although when put into perspective, that's an expensive alternative to writing down one number on a piece of paper every morning. 

I haven't jumped into the IoT pool of sexy new devices yet. I do keep an eye out for a Nest thermostat and smoke detector. Or to upgrade that old gateway with perhaps a SmartThings set up.

Regardless of how many connected devices I can amass, IoT must be more than just connecting devices to the cloud.

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