The Internet of Things: The Next Bubble?
Citizen Inc. | Originally published August 26th, 2014
While there’s no shortage of hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) and the promise of a multi-trillion dollar industry in the coming years, Citizen’s Chief Experience Officer, Sce Pike, explained to the audience at TechFestNW 2014, that we aren’t there yet.
“Where we are today is only at Connected Things. Where we can go tomorrow is so much more than Connected Things,” said Pike, who described herself as an IoT optimist.
She believes that before the Internet of Things can truly flourish, there are significant issues which must be addressed: value to users, privacy resolution, and tech standardization.
The adoption of IoT will be driven by users, and so the solutions in the space need to evolve from tech-centric to user-centric.
“Stop connecting things, and connect people instead,” said Pike.
She urged the tech community to identify who they want to connect and why. Then — and only then — should they address the how. The real value of IoT lies in connecting and enhancing users’ lives, rather than creating “smart” products just because we are able to do so.
When talking about privacy, Pike addressed the Right to Be Forgotten concept which was recently put into practice in the European Union.
“Is your privacy really protected if Google gets to decide what is private?” asked Pike.
She expressed concerns that this will give even more power to the data oligarchs, and proposed another possible solution — “What if we could own and manage our own data and profiles?”
Of course, in our highly connected near-future, managing all our own data and preferences would be too time consuming to be practical. Enter the second half of Pike’s privacy solution:
“What if we had Artificial Intelligence that managed our privacy for us? Acted on our behalf?”
This Privacy Agent would know you, who you are, and your preferences. It would take actions on your behalf to ensure only the data you want public is public.
The final Internet of Things roadblock that was addressed is tech standardization.
“Right now, Connected Things are very siloed from each other,” said Pike.
She summarized four evolutionary steps related to tech standardization that need to be taken in order to deliver on the promise of IoT: get the world online, control things from online, get things to talk to each other M2M style, and make things intelligent.
Pike concluded by stressing what a huge opportunity Internet of Things presents — one that is even bigger than the smart phone. She believes that once we provide value to users, privacy resolution, and tech standardization, the opportunity will be truly compelling.