Everybody has an opinion on the Internet of Things (IoT), but some of these opinions carry more weight than others.
In the last couple of weeks some extremely weighty opinions have crash landed into the debate – highlighting important possibilities and potential pitfalls of developing IoT technology.
We’ve summarised two views below. Although they each come at the problem from different angles, they both seem to agree on one thing – that some developers should refocus their efforts onto different aspects of the IoT spectrum.
One of the high-profile experts was the man who first coined the term ‘Internet of things,’ Kevin Ashton.
Speaking at Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference in London, Mr Ashton criticised the bastardisation of his original concept.
He also argued that British designers, with their favourable history of internet developments, were well placed to take the reins on driving IoT forwards.
Mr Ashton, who has described Kickstarter as the place “where bad ideas go to get funded,” illustrated his bastardisation point by showing off some seemingly pointless IoT inventions such as a wine bottle that tells you when you’re drunk and a toothbrush that tells you when you brushed your teeth.
Ashton argued that developers should focus on the more useful elements of IoT – sensors which collect information and make decisions based on that information.
“We don’t collect data. Machines collect data from sensors and we turn the world into data,” he said.
A different IoT expert, addressing a different venue, also shared some opinions on the future of hyper-networked devices.
Rahman Jamal, global technology and marketing director at National Instruments, said that industrial, and not consumer IoT applications will have the biggest impact for designers.
Speaking at the NIDays technology conference in London, Mr Jamal said that industrial applications like smart factories and smart cities represent a better potential market for electronics designers.
“I believe that 75% of engineers will be impacted by industrial IoT,” he said.
He continued by saying: “Industrial applications represent the markets with the highest potential for IoT products and services”.
Mr Jamal believes that consumer focussed applications like wearables will have less impact in the long run. This is in spite of attempts of companies Samsung and Apple to give the technology a customer-focused edge.
We think that this sentiment echoes the opinion of Kevin Ashton who argued for IoT to have a kind of higher purpose.
Mr Jamal also said that the challenges of industrial applications will be different, requiring sensors and devices to be built into physical infrastructure instead of into smaller gadgets like watches.
Oh and one last piece of IoT news, Electronics Weekly is running a competition to win a free ticket to their IoT Design Conference coming up in London in December. If you’re interested make sure you follow the link and enter online.