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Design News Quick Poll Results: Don't Believe the IoT Hype
December 7, 2015
5 Min Read
"Don't believe the hype." That's the message a majority of respondents to Design News' latest Quick Poll are sending about the Internet of Things (IoT).
More than 43% of the 352 audience members who responded to the poll, which asked what they think of the IoT, said it is just a lot of hype, with some questioning its validity or overall importance in poll remarks.
"Being able to control devices from any location is a neat gimmick for the first few days of ownership, but of limited usefulness," said a reader who called himself "Battar." "Most controllable devices require physical interaction, and extreme remote control comes with security problems (unauthorized control) and serious safety concerns (remote initiation of operation without direct supervision, especially of devices which create heat or have moving parts)."
Security is an issue another reader brought up, sharing a personal story of seeing Internet-enabled door locks at home-improvement retailer Home Depot with his son, a Microsoft employee.
"His comment was that he'd want to know a lot more about who wrote the software in the lock before he'd put one on his door," the reader, "johnr," wrote. "If it was written by a company that's been in the business for a while and knows about security requirements, then maybe. If it's something that [door lock companies] Schlage or Kwikset cooked up themselves, then no way."
He said that he's not so much worried about just the security of someone's house or the things in it, but of scenarios in which more sophisticated hackers use a wirelessly enabled thing to infiltrate a home network and steal passwords to bank accounts and other critical and sensitive information.
"Did the engineers who created your IoT light bulb think about that?" johnr wrote. "Will there be updates when zero-day bugs are found in your IoT light bulb? (My guess: No) If so, how do you install them? Do all light bulbs come with a USB connection for updating the firmware? If it's done over the air, what's to prevent the bad guys from using that ability to break into your network?"
He added that until he gets solid answers to these questions, he himself will not use IoT devices in his home.
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Another skeptical reader, "WilliamK," said he still has not seen any evidence as to the benefit and financial investment of enabling communication among so many things. Until then, he said, he will retain a cautious opinion of the IoT.
"What I see in most of the writings touting how wonderful it will be when every light bulb can talk to our toaster is a lack of real detailed descriptions of how and why some function will be a benefit, and what it would do that would improve my quality of life," he wrote. "For many years that has been my standard of judgment for most acquisitions: Exactly how will this improve my quality of life? It has resulted in ignoring quite a few fads and trends, and often avoided wasting piles of money."
While the majority of those who responded to the poll seem to agree with these readers, not everyone thinks the IoT is being overhyped or without value. More than 35% (125) of respondents -- while not exactly impressed with the technology -- did not discount it completely, believing instead that it is a minor extension of existing technology.
Then there was a small group of respondents who seem to believe the hype and think the IoT will have a major impact on not just the industry but also on how we use devices. More than 19% of respondents (68) said the IoT will be a game changer on the same level as the personal computer.
With these varied opinions on the IoT in its early stages of adoption, only time will tell us which of our reader opinions is correct.
What do you think? Add your comments below, explaining whether you think that the Internet of Things is something to take seriously or not.
And our next Quick Poll is now up. Which is your most important design engineering tool? Is it 3D CAD, product lifecycle management, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, or big data? Add your two cents here!
Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga, and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.
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About the Author(s)
Elizabeth Montalbano has been a professional journalist covering the telecommunications, technology and business sectors since 1998. Prior to her work at Design News, she has previously written news, features and opinion articles for Phone+, CRN (now ChannelWeb), the IDG News Service, Informationweek and CNNMoney, among other publications. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she also has lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and New York City. She currently resides in Lagos, Portugal. Montalbano has a bachelor's degree in English/Communications from De Sales University and a master's degree from Arizona State University in creative writing.
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