Over the last 10-15 years there have been many buzz words and phrases conceived by IT professionals which are then hijacked by marketing spinsters that end up being loathed by people within the IT community. Y2K, ASP, Cloud, Big Data, Single Pane and Glass, The Internet of Things, Hyper Converged, Webscale…and more recently Hybridity (shudder).
Over the years I have forced myself to accept some of these buzz words but for the most I try to steer away from using them in general conversation and in my day to day work. It certainly took a while for me to come to grips with “The Cloud”… At that time I was working for a Hosting Company and The Cloud was a new threat for traditional hosters…hence I used to run with a hashtag of #noCloud
— Anthony Spiteri (@anthonyspiteri) May 9, 2011
— Anthony Spiteri (@anthonyspiteri) April 24, 2011
Though it has taken a long long time, Cloud has been mainstreamed and for the most has become an understood industry term and as such has been widely adopted. However there have been a few recent buzz words and phrases that have given myself and others in the industry a cause to vent. Phrases like Big Data and Webscale are examples that have been hijacked by marketing teams and used as generators of hype in an attempt to push products and services. To a certain extent I understand and accept that the riding of waves is a valid sales technique and is part of the IT lifecycle as shown by the Hype Cycle.
One could argue that myself and others are stuck in the Trough of Disillusionment when it comes to these words and phrases however when it comes specifically to The Internet of Things (#IoT) I’m drawing the line.
Have a look at the phrase itself and think about what it suggests?
The Internet…of Things.
The Internet of…Things.
I find this to be a dumbing down of the internet and a simpletons view of great technology…The internet was born of geniuses trying to solve issues with communication from which evolved a tool that today connects billions of people and serves to better our daily lives. To simplify this technological achievement as “things” while trying to position this “concept” as the next great evolution of the internet makes me react kind of like the guy in the picture below.
As with a lot of things in life I have the ability to polarize people with my opinion…and sometimes I think if I am off the mark when it comes to certain feelings towards subjects such as the IoT…However I recently viewed a TED Talk by Nicholas Negroponte where he spends some time going through why he thinks the IoT is “Tragically pathetic” and how it’s being marketed incorrectly.
…technology is in some sense moving backward right now, dumbing things down and skewing innovation. Negroponte took an opportunity to bash the “Internet of Things” as it’s presently marketed, rightly noting that it’s often little more than putting “an oven control on your phone.” This is not innovation, he insisted. A “smart” appliance wouldn’t just be a display panel on your phone or tablet. A truly connected smart device can detect, on its own, that you’ve just put a chicken in the oven, and it should then know exactly how to prepare it, perhaps even to your liking. In his view, more work is needed in this area.
Quoting him directly below:
I look today at some of the work being done about the Internet of Things, and I think it’s kind of tragically pathetic, because what has happened is people take the oven panel and put it on your cell phone, or the door key onto your cell phone, just taking it and bringing it to you, and in fact that’s actually what you don’t want. You want to put a chicken in the oven, and the oven says, “Aha, it’s a chicken,” and it cooks the chicken. “Oh, it’s cooking the chicken for Nicholas, and he likes it this way and that way.” So the intelligence, instead of being in the device, we have started today to move it back onto the cell phone or closer to the user, not a particularly enlightened view of the Internet of Things.
Negroponte knows his stuff and he has been on the mark with a lot of technology trends across the last 40+ years…so please people…please stop using The Internet of Things…it needs to be killed off or at the very least modified (and not to “everything“) to better represent the estimated 26 Billion “things” that will be online by 2020.
Marketing Departments…the power is in your collective hands…and Cisco…I’m Looking at you! 🙂
Watch one of the best TED Talks of the last couple of years (an easy feat given the quality of talks of late) below…the bit about the IoT is at the 9 minute mark.
If you feel strongly either way, please share your thoughts below in the comment section