Is IoT the end, or just a means to an end?

By David Barefoot

*Warning: This post is anti-climactic in that it only reveals simple truths—and yet, sometimes simple is what we need. Simple is not always easy, but it is often worth it.

These are fascinating times. Whether you have heard of Moore’s Law or not, we are living in its reality…the hyper-connected world.

The bottom line implication is that the exponential growth of computing power, connectivity speed, connectivity coverage and more are creating virtually limitless possibilities in the Internet of Things. And with limitless possibilities comes an amazing opportunity to catch the wave—but also the very real risk of missing it and being left behind.

IMPLEMENTATION BOOM

In an effort to avoid missing out, the last decade has been a mad rush to implement IoT solutions—so much so it has been referred to as the “implementation boom.” Unfortunately, that came with the old adage: “haste makes waste.” The result? Countless new IoT developments, but with them:

  • Over-planned results, similar to a multi-purpose pocket knife that ends up too big & too heavy to be comfortable in your pocket
  • Under-planned results, such as “smart” connected appliances that lack security and are susceptible to hacking (not so smart)
  • Scope creep resulting in fresh ideas that don’t work in real life. Like a refrigerator with an embedded digital screen that costs more to repair than simply buying a new refrigerator.

IOT FATIGUE

So, what is IoT fatigue? It is the worn out—and often frustrating—feeling that has resulted from the “run-for-your-life” sprint to ride the wave vs. getting left behind. Think of how exhausting it would be trying to drink from a fire hose that is running full blast. In many cases, the approach was unintentionally similar to 5-year-olds playing basketball: kids running to wherever the ball is, all at the same time. Just some of the evidence:

The bottom line: So often programs looked good on paper but proved to be far more difficult than imagined. 

In the rush, the reactionary question that companies were likely asking themselves was: “Can this thing (cloud-captured notification bell, light, whistle, etc) be created and produced commercially?” But the additional question that needed to be asked was: “Does this deserve to be built? And will it work—harmoniously—with all other aspects of the IoT ecosystem?”

So, on this side of the boom and in the wake of the IoT fatigue that came with it—is there a better way?

COLLABORATION

What can be learned from the implementation boom is that successfully and sustainably maintaining perspective and riding the dynamic, hyper-connected digital wave is likely only possible through collaboration. Attempting to be a “jack of all the trades, master of none” will likely result in many of the same less-than-desirable outcomes that we have seen over the last decade. A true IoT solution can only exist in a thriving ecosystem that marries:

  • Design Engineering that connects all the dots
  • Hardware to capture desired data
  • Power, or backup power, for the hardware
  • Connectivity
  • Cloud Storage
  • Backend evaluation and parsing software, and perhaps AI and algorithmic data   analytics
  • The UI for actually using the parsed data for desired results

True collaboration strategically combines and leverages the various masters—in their domains of expertise—as an optimized and simple solution in a complicated world. And may we never forget that IoT is simply a means to an end, and not the end itself. Why? Because the ultimate customer-serving, end-use application being better is what truly mattered in the first place!

Do you have thoughts on…

  • The negatives or positives that have come from the implementation boom?
  • IoT Fatigue?
  • Collaboration?
  • The ultimate reason for it all: serving/meeting end-use needs better?
  • Anything else that is relevant?

If so, we would love to hear your thoughts! If you’re looking for IoT collaboration, we’re here for that too. Let’s connect.