Internet of Things — The way I understand it
Mitch Seguin
232

Indeed correct. It’s not Home Automation, but instead it’s “Home Remote Usage”. And what little true automation there is built in is rather braindead. But that’s not as a big a problem. That can be solved by more sensors. But there are much bigger problems amongst us in IoT:

XKCD Standards https://xkcd.com/927/

This company wants to do IoT their way, with their API, and their servers that your data goes to.
That company wants to capture your data with a different incompatible API, with different accounts and servers. 
Ad absurdum..

So, what do we have that can break this cycle of lackluster islands of IoT? Open standards. MQTT(HiveMQ, Mosquitto) is an exceptional standard, as is CoAP(Californium) and AMQP(RabbitMQ). How many devices allow redirecting their data stream to your private broker? None. That is truly sad: open standards for all, yet nobody uses them.

And we also arrive at the horrible effect of the “Network” as well. Since our data is going elsewhere (read: cloud, other peoples’ servers), it has to go over our router, to their network, processed through their APIs, and all the way back. So in other words, the room that’s IoT-integrated in your house does nothing if your internet is out. It’s a Dumb-room you paid top dollar for.

And when your internet goes out, your IoT stuff dies with it. But what about when your devices are End-Of-Lifed? Can you still retain control of them? Absolutely not. They are dead, because the ‘intelligence’ was in the API and server side, not your dumb device with Wifi. When they decide your device is done, they just make it so. Phillips had this kind of spat with users: They sold an open light platform. Worked well, until they were getting undercut. So they send out a firmware that nukes all 3rd party bulbs. Of course, this only lasted a day before they “came to their senses”, but they still retain the ability to do this at any time. Or the worst case is that the company goes bankrupt. So long, devices. Another question to ask in this light is, “Does your company provide an escrow account to pay for servers for X years?”

And there’s also the act of sending data to these remote places. We send them our intimate data about the stuff we interact with daily. WHat can be gleaned from this? Not much, you say? Not hardly. A recent Machine Learning paper took only the power load on a house and was able to profile individual devices inside the house!

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224155275_Real-Time_Recognition_and_Profiling_of_Appliances_through_a_Single_Electricity_Sensor

And that was just 1 sensor. What could 100 provide? And, why should we trust *them* with our data? What are they going to do with it?

I think I’ve highlighted a few major issues with the current implementation of IoT. I’m working on my own, but sticking to open source and open standards. Mainly my stack is: Arduino Nano, nRF24L01+ (mesh networking chip), MySensors Library, Node-Red. From there, I can build almost anything.

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