The Light Side of the Internet of Things

The Light Side of the Internet of Things

Start dreaming bigger.

The Internet of Things can be a slightly terrifying thing for some people. Questions of safety, security and reliability have all flooded the interwebs since the idea was first proposed–and rightfully so. There is quite a bit of change in store for the future, and proper measures must be taken to ensure that those changes occur seamlessly.

However, for those who use this fear as a reason to avoid the Internet of Things completely, I have one response: you’re not dreaming big enough.

“You’re wrong,” you say, “Because I’m not dreaming at all. Why does everyone feel the need to overcomplicate our world?”

Because you’re not dreaming big enough. Be honest with yourself. When you think of the Internet of Things, you probably think of operating your refrigerator, TV, garage door or shower head with your smartphone–and that’s about it. So when questions of security arise, of course your immediate response is “That’s not worth it.”

And there, you’re right. The complexity and effort involved in a secure infrastructure is not worth it–if you’re only worried about your refrigerator. But please, just once, take a second to dream bigger. Think beyond TVs, beyond your house–beyond yourself–and consider the possibilities.

In this Wired article, Daniel Burrus notes that the real innovation behind the Internet of Things is not in connecting machines, but in connecting machines with sensors.

What would change if pilots knew that their engines needed repair before they got on the runway, transportation departments knew that the structural support beams on the I-35 bridge were weak before it collapsed, or doctors knew that their patients hearts were pumping slightly too slow before the night in the emergency room?

Oh, you can enjoy your remote-controlled refrigerator. But don’t let yourself think that that is all the Internet of Things has to offer. Start dreaming bigger.