After researching the Internet of Things (and Internøt of Things) for a few months, overall I found that there is still more bad than good with the IoT. Currently there are some pretty large issues that continue to exist with the IoT (that have come up in class discussions this semester).
Below are some of the unresolved issues that remain with the IoT:
Privacy - The difficulty with keeping your information private between all these connected devices.
Security - The issue of keeping your information safe on digital devices that are all (by rule) hackable.
Accessibility - How to deal with user-accessibility in the midst of all these new devices and interfaces entering the market. In the words of Brown University computer scientist Michael Littman:
These interfaces need to be not only more user-friendly but also better integrated: "If users need to learn different interfaces for their vacuums, their locks, their sprinklers, their lights, and their coffeemakers, it's tough to say that their lives have been made any easier. 1Ownership - For example, if I buy a Nest thermostat for my home, is my home still mine? Or is it now Google’s house? Or does it belong to the greater Internet?
Cross-Compatibility - The problem where all these devices from all these companies don’t even work together. Incompatible devices occupying the same space will force users to buy an entire series of devices from the same brand if they want them to be interconnected, which is the entire point of purchasing Internet of Things devices in the first place.
As a result, even if another brand offers a better option for a certain device within the same space (i.e. the home space), the user will be unable to purchase from that brand if they want to maintain interconnectivity between all of their devices.
David Pierce of Wired accurately explains:
How the hell are all these things going to work together? Apple has Homekit; Google has Brillo and Nest; Microsoft has Windows; Samsung has SmartThings. There’s Wemo and Wink and Zigbee and Z-Wave and Thread and I’m not even making any of these up. You can control some things with your fitness tracker, some with a universal remote, and pretty much all of them with your phone. Some of the protocols overlap and support each other; others are more exclusive. But there’s no simple plug-and-play option, no way to walk out of Best Buy with something you know is going to work. 1Timothy B. Lee of Vox adds further (speaking specifically about Nest home devices):
There are now lots of internet-connected devices on the market, but a big problem with many of them is that they require too much effort to set up and manage. It's hard enough to convince someone that it's worth paying a premium for an internet-connected lightbulb or washing machine. It becomes an even harder sell if customers are required to separately configure devices from different companies. 1Chris Welch of The Verge accurately concludes:
These partnerships are critical if the goal is making your entire home smarter. 1
Concluding Thought: Edit
To answer the question of whether or not the Internet of Things is there yet, the answer is, not yet. The truth is, the Internet of Things hasn’t fully matured just yet, though it will certainly get there someday in the not so distant future.
I leave you with David Pierce's conclusion:
It may be coming like a molasses tidal wave, but the Internet of Things is coming. It’s not a matter of if or whether, but when and how...The tracks have been laid. Maybe it’ll be 2016, maybe the year after, but the train is coming. It’ll have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and probably eight other things, and you’ll definitely get a push notification when it gets here. 1