The Internet of Things Needs a Fix

Posted June 28th 2016


via Scientific American

The Internet of Things has turned out to be the Internet of Poor Sales. At this moment, it’s a good bet that you, dear reader, cannot control your washer/dryer from your phone. But if convenience always wins, why isn’t the public eating this stuff up?

Ironically, it’s because today’s Internet of Things things just aren’t very convenient.

The first moments of ownership usually involve downloading an app, creating an account and connecting the thing to your Wi-Fi network. Sometimes that all goes well. Sometimes there goes your Saturday afternoon. Then you’ve got the Tower of Things Babel to contend with: The apps don’t talk to one another. You must open one app to adjust the lighting, another to change your speakers’ volume, a third to tweak the temperature.

The industry knows about these problems. They’re frantically developing standards to unify all this stuff. Trouble is, each big company has developed its own standard. There’s Thread (from Google), HomeKit (Apple), AllJoyn (originally Qualcomm) and SmartThings (Samsung), among others. That’s right: The very act of trying to settle the standards war has resulted in … a new standards war.