The talk these days about the IoT and the large number of companies hopping onto the IoT bandwagon with little to no strategic decision making is unbearable. Does it really make sense for EVERY product to connect to the internet? Here are seven reasons to skip the I in IoT.
Reason #1 - Security Liability
The millisecond a device is going to be Internet connected the company producing the device has an obligation to ensure their device is secure. Neigh not just an obligation but a moral responsibility. The company now has to consider what the consequences are if their device is compromised and the potential devastation it could have on their end clients. A security breach could not only affect their customers well-being but also destroy the companies brand, lead to lawsuits or perhaps even injury or death depending on the device. Is the risk/reward sufficient to justify connecting to the Internet? This is the question product teams need to ask themselves before making a devastatingly flippant decision.
Reason #2 - System Complexity
Connecting to the Internet has the potential to add unwarranted complexity to an embedded system. The need for security and updates will be never-ending. Developers now need to add in at a minimum a WiFi module and TCP/IP stack. Additional code and complexity will be added through the cloud, selecting an IoT protocol and user interfaces. The user interfaces can't just be Web pages but also must include an app that supports mobile devices of multiple manufacturers. Added complexity generally results in more engineering time, higher costs, more bugs, and delayed product delivery.
Reason #3 - Customer Doesn't Want or Can't Afford it
Does the targeted user really need this device to be connected to the Internet? Many development teams are connecting coffee pots, toasters, and every other device imaginable to the Internet but is there any real value add to doing so? Adding the Internet to a device adds extra cost that the end user may not be willing to pay. Just because a product type is becoming market trendy doesn't mean the end user truly needs that functionality. A simple example is the smart thermometer. A low-cost mechanical thermometer costs a few dozen dollars while a smart thermometer costs a few hundred. Both do the same thing, the difference, a few connected features on the thermostat that are rarely used and at least an order of magnitude increase in costs.
Building out the IoT. Get down and dirty on hack-proofing C/C++, cryptography basics, IoT device creation in 45 mins, taking your IoT design cellular, debugging tips and tricks and more in the Connected Devices and the Internet of Things track at the Embedded Systems Conference , Sept. 21-22, 2016 in Minneapolis. Register here for the event, hosted by Design News ’ parent company UBM.
Reason #4 - Total Cost of Ownership
More design time, complexity, security, hardware, and undoubtedly more testing and debug. Developers and companies can't expect the total cost of ownership for an IoT device to match that of currently disconnected devices. Typical development