Internet of Things, Internet of Apprehension
The IoT has much to recommend it – but we need to set our sights higher: co-authored with Mark Birbeck
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 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.
To download the full PDF version, click on this ‘Internet of Things, Internet of Apprehension‘ link.
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Innovators I like
Robert Furchgott – discovered that nitric oxide transmits signals within the human body
Barry Marshall – showed that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is the cause of most peptic ulcers, reversing decades of medical doctrine holding that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid
N Joseph Woodland – co-inventor of the barcode
Jocelyn Bell Burnell – she discovered the first radio pulsars
John Tyndall – the man who worked out why the sky was blue
Rosalind Franklin co-discovered the structure of DNA, with Crick and Watson
Rosalyn Sussman Yallow – development of radioimmunoassay (RIA), a method of quantifying minute amounts of biological substances in the body
Jonas Salk – discovery and development of the first successful polio vaccine
John Waterlow – discovered that lack of body potassium causes altitude sickness. First experiment: on himself
Werner Forssmann – the first man to insert a catheter into a human heart: his own
Bruce Bayer – scientist with Kodak whose invention of a colour filter array enabled digital imaging sensors to capture colour
Yuri Gagarin – first man in space. My piece of fandom: http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/10421
Sir Godfrey Hounsfield – inventor, with Robert Ledley, of the CAT scanner
Martin Cooper – inventor of the mobile phone
Thomas Tuohy – Windscale manager who doused the flames of the 1957 fire
Eugene Polley – TV remote controls
George Devol – 'father of robotics’ who helped to revolutionise carmaking