The Internet of Things: too many Things, not enough Internet

The IoT hype is starting to look like hubris. Few of us are texting our fridges. Why? Because the Internet of Things has too many Things, and not enough Internet.

And you’ll know what I mean, if you owned a pre-iPod mp3 player.


They were mediocre, arcane, expensive. Yet millions were developed and shipped. Because mp3s were seen as the thing that would transform music.

Each mp3 player had fractionally different features and proprietary software for coding mp3s. With few benefits over the existing technology and such a high price point, they became status symbols for nerds. It was just weird to be the owner of an mp3 player.

Apple fell into this trap too. A lot of people forget that the iPod didn’t sell much initially. It was a beautifully designed Thing. But it was still mediocre, still expensive. Still weird.

That is, until iTunes became widely available.

It wasn’t mp3s that changed music, or mp3 players. It was the service that allowed you to have a digital music collection.

Today, it’s weird and expensive to own an IoT product. Most companies are launching more and more internet-enabled boxes, each with their own proprietary app controllers. They’re ‘making better mp3 players’.

They should be looking for the service. It’ll be built around a real, unmet user need — like building a digital music library — enabled by connecting a number of devices together, rather than a single device that does it all.

In other words, putting more Internet into the Things.