Things to Know About the Internet of Things

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Inset from from Digital Marketing Map. Copyright Gartner 2013
Inset from from Digital Marketing Map. Copyright Gartner 2013

Anyone familiar with how hard it is to get from London’s Putney Bridge to East Finchley by Tube will know that this visual analogy for how internetty our lives are becoming is as good as any.

Increasingly we are hearing about the Internet of Things, a loose network of enabled devices that can talk to you, to each other, and to whomever you think might want to know.

Apple unveiled its plans, saying “We’re also giving developers amazing new tools to make managing your health and your home from your devices an integrated, simple and secure experience.”

Google bought Nest, a thermostat company, for the cost of about one and a half basketball teams and recently told the SEC of the direction they — and therefore we — are heading in, “…we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.”

Here’s what I think this means.

Pro: My talking fridge can let me know if my wife has bought groceries. In other words, I can get a message that says, “You got mayo!”

Con: That joke would have been funnier if it was 1998. Marginally.

Pro: If I everything I own is controlled by one app, maybe I’ll finally only need one password. What could possibly go wrong there?

Con: I have four remotes just for the TV but only two people in the household know how to use them. So what will it take to master a fully-controlled home? We may need interns.

Pro: Having Google running my thermostat means that when it knows I’m hot, my Google Car can drive me out to get fro-yo.

Con: I don’t really like fro-yo.

Pro: This will really make stalking my teenage kids much easier.

Con: Does Edward Snowden really need to know how often I use my electric toothbrush?

Pro: Jarvis.

Con: Apple TV. Not my favorite Apple device. Let’s hope this is more iPhoney in its user experience design.

Pro: Ads can be directed at me, regardless of what I’m doing, or where I am. Companies can track my family’s every move, behavior, purchase, digital activity, and then potentially sell that data to almost anyone or sharing it with almost anyone. We can get even more invasive End User Agreements… Software updates… Hackers… Spam… Virus protection hassle… Batteries not included… sigh.

Con: Ok, wait: the last set was probably more of a Con.

Pro: Seriously, Jarvis.

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