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Wireless Technologies

The Internet of Things: Some positives, several problems

As a concept and a practical reality, we are all in favour of the Internet of Things. Yet the way it is being discussed by leading experts in management gives us pause. As is generally the case with new developments in IT, opinion is divided between uncritical boosters and alarmist doomsters. Boosters think we will marvel simply at the billions (or is it trillions?) of devices that may be connected up in the next few years – as if that alone was enough to convince an ignorant general public of the IoT’s merits. By contrast, doomsters focus on the threat that the IoT could represent to personal security, safety and privacy; on how everything from mobile health devices and cars could be hacked, for example. In a new report published here on IDG Connect, we focus, rather, on the economic and social snags that impede both the implementation of the IoT, and its fruitful use.

What boosters forget is how the IoT has emerged in a very specific context – that of the post-2008 recession. Inevitably, the downturn has had an adverse effect on goals and habits with the IoT. Acquisitions of IoT companies, for instance, already look like they preoccupy big players as much if not more than them building their own, independent efforts in the field.

For the IoT to succeed, IT professionals need to stare this reality in the face. If they don’t, genuine innovations around the IoT will not be as formidable as they could be.

We first review the positive sides of the IoT and some neglected problems with it. Then, though we see the merits of consumer applications and of predictive maintenance in industrial applications, we show how neither really addresses the difficult but tangible improvements in productivity that the IoT can and should bring. Next, we take issue with the idea that This Round Of IT Changes Everything. Finally we provide an outline sketch of what we think the most promising priorities should be with the IoT, concentrating in particular on the idea of an Internet of Minds (IoM).

The report does not deliberately seek to prompt controversy. Yet no doubt it will. We hope that, from the ensuing heat, more light will be thrown on a trend in IT that could do much to help humanity.

 

Report: Internet of Things, Internet of Apprehension

 

Also read:

Internet of Things edges towards maturity

Internet of Things: What comes next?

Rant: The internet fridge fallacy

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