The IoT Fairy

By December 30, 2016Internet of Things
Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing circa 1786 William Blake

Every time you describe a frivolous Internet of Things (IoT) technology use case, a fairy dies…

Here is one.

Samsung’s smart refrigerator boasts three embedded video cameras to keep an eye on what’s in the fridge, which you can view through a smartphone app or the 21” touchscreen built into the fridge’s door.

The fridge’s software is designed to help monitor spoilage and remind you when an item has been lying around long enough to spoil. If your last carton of milk is going bad, you can even order fresh milk directly from the touch screen using the Groceries by MasterCard app.

You can get that smart fridge at your nearest BestBuy for the modest price of $4,000 (a great deal, considering a MSRP of $6,000). Just make sure you have the most recent software installed. Lat year researchers uncovered a security flaw in a Samsung smart fridge that could compromise a user’s Gmail credentials

This “use case,” like endless number of equally fanciful scenarios, gets a barely passing grade of “cute.”

The irony is that the very same technology and features offered by the smart fridge and other smart home appliances can be used to illustrate IoT uses cases that are useful, meaningful, and worth investing in. Here is one example.

An app running on your Smart Home Hub is about to alert you it’s time for you to take an antibiotic your physician prescribed yesterday. But your smart fridge noticed that you just had a glass of milk. Because milk interferes with the absorption of that class of antibiotics (tetracycline), the app recommends you wait 30 minutes before taking your medication.

Smart home applications and connected appliances offer a wealth of IoT solutions, from energy management to improving the safety and the quality of life of an aging population. Simply turning lights on and off using a smartphone app isn’t the best example of a meaningful application of IoT technology.

Don’t trivialize the IoT technology. Whether a smart home application, an industrial control system, or a smart city solution, look for ways to use the technology to solve meaningful problems, add value to operations, and improve the quality of life of residents and citizens.

Remember: every time you describe a frivolous IoT application, a fairy dies.


Image: Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing (William Blake, cir. 1786)

  • Al Hahn

    Joe, this is something that needed to be said, and you have made your point very eloquently. IoT has great potential, but requires real work to determine applications that are meaningful. It may also require work across disciplines, as in your example. Thanks for a point well made.
    Al Hahn
    Executive Director
    The Association of Support Professionals (ASP)

  • This is a great read! Everything has to co-exist for IoT to truly deliver, especially in the consumer space.

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