Monday, January 19, 2015

The Internet of Things as Metaphor for All of the Things not connected (see link below) had another interesting report on the challenges faced by industry leaders if they are ever to create a truly integrated system of smart devices, whether in the home, or in the larger world of industry.

The problem, of course, is the need to come together and agree on a standard interlink protocol. Not such an easy thing when the majority of industry titans start from the standpoint where what each of them are already doing is the best for everybody else. As the piece points out, it took them 15 years to standardized the use of RFID chips.

What interests me here, however, is not the problem itself, or it's supposed benefits, but what is unintentionally implied in contrast.

The first part of this is found in the quote from Jeremy Rifkin, described as a " and expert in what's been called the emerging smart ecosystem...:" 
"If you want a system to work, it has to be completely distributed — open, transparent, so that anyone can have access..."
And the piece ended the quote by further stating: 
"...But he warned that, despite joining industry-wide groups and coalitions, companies aren't always happy with this idea: "Frankly, every company wants to create a standard and be on the top of codes and regulations..." "

You need only think of Capitalism as an economic operating system to see the unintended irony of Mr. Rifkin's quote here.
A completely distributed--open, and transparent system so that anyone can have access indeed. What a pipe dream for an operating system that, by the inherent constrictions of information control (to maintain not only net gain, but competitive advantage), will never be completely distributed, or open.

Even more telling for me, however, is the emphasis here on the need for things to be connected, as opposed to the vox populi being truly connected. And by connected here I mean to the degree that we might be fully informed, and able to speak for ourselves. Gaining a voice that actually matters in what is decided on what our creative efforts should be tasked to, and how we go about those tasks.

I know, we already have the people internet, and a good deal of connection can happen there but, as the whole "Net Neutrality" issue illustrates, it really isn't our network at all. Any more than the information that flows through it is allowed to be what we need to be informed.

The bottom line here is that you risk going to jail if you put information out that you don't own, not to mention losing the link to be connected in the first place. That network connects only to the degree that the providers who paid for it gain more than they give out. And therein lies the rub of a rock and a hard place for those who would hope that their vote might count.


Image: Smart refrigerator

Internet of Things Needs Industry Cooperation to Make It Big