Washington Post: 3 reasons why the Internet of Things (still) doesn't make sense (?)

An article from a few days ago… The content is rather brief, shallow, and not backed with any substantial citations.

But I find the comments added to the article are interesting. What segment of consumers does this reflect?

That “futurist” author is pretty shortsighted, isn’t he? However, I don’t disagree with point no 1. PRICE. A smarter home isn’t necessity at this point. As long as it’s expensive, it’ll remain as a niche market targeted mostly at … geeks who can afford it.


Totally agree. But you overlook that this is America. The “Gotta keep up with the Joneses” mentality exists. My wife and I bought our house in October and I’ve undertaken the first phase of my home automation. I have 40 devices already. I have several friends who are in awe and plan on following suit once they have their own home. They aren’t tech geeks, but they don’t like being left behind.

His only good point is price. But we saw in 2014 alone a huge drop in pricing, I think we’ll see that again and more so in 2015. The point he should of focused on is making it easier for them to all work together and for the average consumer to get up and running.

My life revolves around technology and it amazes me to this day things that I think are simple and obvious others do not. I had a customer just the other day was freaking out because his computer wouldn’t turn on, he was turning the monitor on and off, not the computer.

My point being, all the “Internet of Things” need to be simple and straight forward or the average consumer will lose interest. They also need to easily work with other “iot” or they will generally fail.

I think his points on “privacy” and “security” are piggy backs on the consumer fear of being hacked or their information getting out there. While I believe privacy is a serious concern in the electronic age and consumers need to be more smart about protecting their information. I also think it’s insane to believe that someone would want to “hack” into the average house.

Now a virus that infected SmartHubs, would be something to fear. Can you imagine not being able to control your devices or they randomly do their own thing. Wait, that happens already. Snickering

I’m not sure I would call it “insane”. A major use case for “smart homes” (SmartThings inclusive) is home security (locks, sensors, video, notifications, alarms, …).

A certain class of burglars could determine that 2-Ghz jammers, cable cutting, electronic lock hacking, video interception, etc., might be the new tools of their trades. Non-electronic security, and traditional security companies (ADT, etc.) are not necessarily safer, things that are complex are more likely to have unintended holes.

The author misses the point on the “basket of remotes”. The majority of IoT is about automation and simplification. Automation by definition means using fewer remotes and control dashboards. If you automate right, you eliminate the need for manual control. Remotes and dashboards are just a collection of manual controls, just like a group of switches on a wall. If your home automation project is focused on using a dashboard or a remote, you are doing it wrong.

IoT does not need to cause a basket of remotes. However, for the time being it may cause a shelf full of hubs. But you don’t need to touch your hub to turn the lights on. Use motion and voice…

The Wash. Post used to have better tech writers, but they’ve all moved on. The one valuable point here is that interoperability is key. That’s precisely why I went with SmartThings – I wasn’t going to accept what @Dlee calls “a shelf full of hubs.” Unfortunately, I think a lot of consumers will get burned by narrow, non-interoperable platforms (e.g., Homekit).

As for the comments, people have difficulty envisioning use cases for new technology until they see the use case that motivates them particularly, and then it is “how did I ever live without it”. Everyone’s mom was wedded to her circa-2005 Nokia (“I only need to make phone calls!”)… until all the pics of the grandkids were on Facebook and suddenly Grandma needs an iPhone.

I agree that 2ghz jamming, cable cutting, e.t.c might be a possibility, but I feel a person who is talented enough to properly hack into a smart home is more likely to put their efforts into systems with a larger payoff rather than the $50 you have in your dresser drawer.


The author is using “basket of remotes” as a metaphor for all the various apps, hubs, etc that people are finding they have to use to get everything from different manufacturers to work the way they want it to.

You’ll find weekly posts describing exactly this issue in this community, with some people using TCP or Hue or Sonos controllers outside their ST setup just so they can get the granular control they want.

Sure, some control can be done through various workarounds. But even with zwave, not all manufacturers (including ST) are implementing all the features of the protocol, and there are a lot of incompatibilities. Even for aspects the user wants completely automated.

I don’t agree with the article in its entirety, but I think the lack of a consistent implementation of the standard protocols IS at the heart of many of the issues people report here every day.

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