We posted a blog entitled "Convince Me Why Washer Must Talk to Grill" a few weeks ago.
At that time, many EE Times community members overwhelmed our comment section by sharing strong opinions, expert knowledge, and keen interest in the topic.
Now we are taking our debate to another level.
Please join our online Radio Show on Friday, Aug. 15, at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT. I will grill two executives -- Rick Walker, senior product marketing manager for IoT and home automation for CSR, and Jim Reich, CTO and co-founder of the Internet-connected grill developer PalateHome -- on IoT device-to-device communication.
A little background
I wrote the aforementioned blog because I was a little alarmed about all those people in the IoT industry talking about the need to standardize device-to-device communication.
Practically, every major industry player is jockeying to define a common communications framework for the IoT, including the Intel-led Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), the AllSeen effort started by Qualcomm, and the Google-led Thread.
In the broader scheme of things, I reckon that the need for device-to-device communication will arise mainly when people want to share certain data -- collected by various devices -- with applications and services that might not have been invented before. If this is the rationale for all this D2D tsuris, what credible scenarios would convince me to share my IoT data?
Honestly, as I wrote in my blog, wouldn't it creep you out to think about your devices at home talking to one another, doing stuff without your consent, and talking about your habits -- good and bad -- to total strangers (advertisers, service providers, or just more machines) behind your back?
EE Times community responds
Reactions to this topic from the EE Times community have been smart, eclectic, and divided. Some of our community members see the IoT as inevitable. Others don't see the necessity of a device-to-device standard, especially when it comes to IoT use at home.
Speaking of Internet-connected coffee makers and sprinklers and other "smart features for home appliances," AZskibum wrote:
None of these applications require connectivity, and any benefit provided by connectivity is arguably minimal -- especially when the cost of connectivity is potentially compromised network security.
Connectivity must enhance the user experience, not simply be included because it is possible to do so.
Some Guy defended connectivity in his comment:
The whole idea of the Internet of Things is that the standardization of the comms function lowers the costs for everything, and that the full benefits of the network (Metcalfe's Law) are not knowable a priori. The array of low-cost ubiquitous sensors that are coming available to us are justified on their utility in one use case and then the creativity of the world allows for infinite combinations that come available, essentially "for free" afterwards. You just need the standards defined and inclusive.
Though skeptical of home automation-style IoT scenarios, many of our members agreed that the IoT is useful for monitoring and control. Bert22306 wrote:
The IoT does have its place. One fairly indisputable advantage for implementing this sort of thing is to reduce manning requirements in factories, ships, airplanes, power plants, and such. Not homes primarily, but environments that are filled with systems which require constant monitoring, which in the past has had to be done by many (fallible) humans.
Similarly, Pablo Valerio wrote:
I like the M2M and IoT idea of helping manage the power grid, provide services for "smart cities", help manage traffic and monitor noise and pollution.
Clearly, equating the IoT with recycled home automation ideas (a.k.a. "smart home appliances") is not a way to convince anyone about the IoT's value at home. For example, tb100 brought up the "smart fridge" in a comment:
I always hear about the refrigerator that figures out what you are out of and orders more for you. Except this is easily accomplished by opening the door and taking a look, which you are going to get around to sooner or later if you eat food. And I don't buy the same food every week, so I certainly wouldn't want the refrigerator ordering food for me.
OK. Clearly, we've got a bunch of well-informed engineers. Some are for the IoT, and others are deeply dubious, especially on the home front.
Join the debate
I'm inviting all IoT cynics, optimists, and skeptics out there to please join our online Radio Show Friday, Aug. 15, at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT. Tune into this link to listen to the radio show.
We will begin with a 30-minute chat, which you can listen to as streaming audio in your web browser. After the chat, you can join in the live (text-based) question, answer, and discussion session.
To take part in the live text chat, you need to be a member of the EE Times community. If you aren't already a member, now would be a perfect time to register. You also need to register for the radio show itself by clicking here.