Monday, June 6, 2016

Internet of Things: The Biggest Problem With Smart Homes

Daisy, Daisy...
From MIT's Technology Review:

Nest’s Biggest Problem Wasn’t Tony Fadell
The CEO of the smart thermostat maker is out, but Nest still faces a much bigger problem—and it’s plaguing the entire smart-home market.
On Friday, Nest CEO Tony Fadell announced in a blog post that he was flying off from his roost—a move that isn’t so surprising considering recent reports about tensions between Fadell and employees and the fact that Nest hasn’t done much to widen its smart-home ambitions since Google paid $3.2 billion for the smart-thermostat maker in 2014.

Sure, as this Ars Technica piece points out, a big problem for Nest is that, despite having access to oodles of money, it doesn’t seem to have gotten much done since being acquired by Google. Last year it released a connected home security camera, Nest Cam, but that was mostly just a rebranding of Dropcam, a home security camera startup Nest purchased in 2014.

But an even bigger issue for Nest is the one plaguing the smart-home appliance industry as a whole. Even though the companies making these devices point out benefits like energy savings, convenience, and safety features, most of us still aren’t convinced that we need or want all of our home appliances to be connected to the Internet.
For decades we’d been promised that the smart home is coming, and companies like Nest have spent the last few years proclaiming that it’s already here—evident in smart thermostats, door locks, smart-home hubs, and appliances like this $5,800 smart refrigerator from Samsung (definitely not that company’s first, and probably not its last)....MORE
The Daisy ref. is an homage to an homage to an homage.

In 2014's "Internet of Things: In Which Izabella Approaches Escape Velocity Edition" we linked to FT Alphaville's Ms. Kaminska's speculative (and grin-inducing) piece:

Cybersecurity dispatches: Managing the IoT poltergeist threat
Imagine the scene in the not too distant future.

An Uber self-driving electric car has just dropped you home. Your front door has recognised your face, and your fingerprint has authenticated that it’s definitely you. You get into your house, not a key in sight, kick off your shoes, and happily discover that the 3D printing feature in your fridge has already printed the food you plan to consume for dinner. All the appliances you need are on. And everything you don’t need is off, nice and efficiently saving power.

You decide to treat yourself to a quick 30-minute Netflix holographic update, only to get a nudge from your wearable tech that you’ve still got a 10 minute exercise deficit to meet your daily exercise quota. It’s a problem because you happen to have signed up to the extreme health management option which shuts down ApplePay access — without which Netflix won’t work — if you fail to meet your objectives. You quickly get busy on your smart-grid connected treadmill (which conveniently sells off the energy produced by your system back into the grid).

When all of a sudden… your utility door flings open and your iRobot Roomba begins singing Daisy, Daisy....MORE
I'm guessing she was riffing off 2001: A Space Odyssey:

But HAL's song was itself an homage:

Why HAL 9000 sang 'Daisy' in 2001
... It turns out that in 1961, the IBM 7094, among the earliest and largest mainframe machines developed by the computing giant, became the first computer to sing, and the tune it warbled was—you guessed it—"Daisy Bell." The vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum, while the musical accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews. It seems certain that Kubrick used this as the inspiration for HAL's signoff in his movie.

A recording of the IBM 7094's rendition is below....blastr
And there you go.
And people still don't see a compelling need for connected homes.

Here are a few dozen of our IoT posts.