This is a great question, Junko. One that's been needing to be asked.
I have been covering different ways to connect IoT devices so long I neglected to challenge the conventional wisdom that its even necessary.
A similar phenomenon happened in the last wave of hype with the smart grid. Few thought to ask why anyone would want to spend the time and money to shave their electric bills which in most cases were not even a big concern for the average Joe or Jane.
And I guess you and I both agree that your radio doesn't have any compelling reasons to talk to your TV. Right?
True, although it can be useful to have it talk to my PC, as an easier way of selecting my favorite stations.
Having a radio and TV connected to the Internet also gives them a huge amount of program selection they previously didn't have. I can listen to any number of radio stations from anywhere in the world, as if they were local. Ditto with TV. So making appliances IP-aware is useful for more than just having your hot water tap speak with your toaster.
Besides, anyone who does laundry knows that the most annoying part is loading the washer, transferring to the drier, and then putting the clothes away. If IoT can't do that, I have no interest in a "connected" laundry room. Certainly not for the frivolous functions some try to convince us are such a great innovation.
I'd even say that Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition could become the heart and soul of IoT. No?
Definitely, this is has been happening. Many industrial automation products have been migrating from previous special-purpose protocols to Internet Protocol, specifically to help them play in what we now like to call IoT. Which is why I don't see IoT as being anything new. It's been going on for decades, except maybe not so much in homes.
And even there, at home, I've been watching TV and listening to radio almost exclusively over the Internet. Aren't a TV or radio "things"? I'd call them "things." But it's true that many of the applications ballyhooed for IoT don't make a lot of sense.
I have no doubt that IoT will provide value and improve efficiency in many ways, but not in the ways that, as Junko phrased it, have been "shopped around and recycled for years."
Many of the smart features talked about for home applicances, for example, already exist and don't really require network connectivity to achieve their goals. As someone mentioned, if you left the clothing iron on, it shuts itself off after a short time. Likewise for the coffee maker. Most consumers don't really need to be notified of these events via SMS to their smartphone, nor do most consumers need to have remote control over these events. The list goes on and on -- sprinklers that detect moisture and only turn on when neccessary, motion-activated lights that turn on before you reach the front door and fumble in the dark trying to put the key in the lock, and so on and so on.
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, Ha, ha, I am glad that my rant is now viewed as now officially belonging to your "Gramma and Smartphone" category.
Actually, you are absolutely right. A lot of times consumers don't see real value of new technology until much later.
But the industry would usually come up with some real use of the technology as time goes by.
IoT could be one of those.
But as I wrote elsewhere in a separate thread, I think we owe it ourselves to hash out what's valuable and what's not when we formulate a credible pitch for developing deivce-to-device communication for IoT.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.