My mobile phone tells me my doorbell is ringing. Sweet. Of course I can hear the doorbell, but that’s not the point is it? Do I need my microwave oven to tell me by text something is cooked? No. Not sure if I can trust it that far, and of course I need to put the food in to start with so I know it won’t take long. I’m also hungry and eager to eat so I’m not going to wander off – certainly not to the shops for half and hour.
The world of IoT appeals to the child within, the novelty factor, that turns an otherwise dull product into something we want to play with that we forget ourselves. Here’s a case in point; a friend of mine buys a washing machine with some built app connectivity to know how far the wash is going etc. She asks for help on setting it up, fine it’s done, then I ask why did she buy one with this facility? Her reply is “it just came with it so thought it was worth trying out”. Funny thing is, like everyone else, she probably never tries all the various wash cycles and settings right? We stick to the same ones. Why, with a sudden app does the prospect of the multitude of washing options now suddenly appeal? I’ll tell you. Because it’s new and interesting; no other reason. No interest in the machine doing a better job.
We fill our homes with these little islands of choice. They are fun to start with, then being just big kids the novelty wears off, or we find a new shiny thing to play with and the dull function returns. I’ve not asked her, but now its a few months down the line, does she still use the app and use a couple of the wash cycles now? I wouldn’t be surprised if she said yes. I know I’ve gone that way with a few IoT products of late.
While the fun lasts all is good. Perhaps it all works and we find the features useful. However, the darker aspect lingers once we are over the play time. What is this app really doing? What drives my fun? All of that is generally lost in the excitement.
Now, sometimes in the dark of the night, I might wake wondering what does my toaster know about me? Who is it telling that I like one slice for breakfast at the same time on a weekday morning, and that I perhaps skip breakfast at the weekend? What have I given up to someone, or something out there in a far away country.
And, if its sending data out, what can be coming back in? I read an article once where an aquarium was used to pivot an attack on a hotel. I often cast glances at the toaster now while I make my breakfast, just wondering if it’s really just a toaster now…