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Author Topic: View of IoT from The Economist  (Read 7523 times)

astromo

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View of IoT from The Economist
« on: June 10, 2016, 05:25:31 am »

Interesting read:
http://www.economist.com/news/business/21700380-connected-homes-will-take-longer-materialise-expected-where-smart

There are always nay sayers to new ideas. Even so there are some compelling points of view backed with some coherent assertions.
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jmone

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2016, 06:53:46 am »

I agree with much of this article.  I've got many of the gadgets and from my POV, here is what I've found:

- Thermostat (EcoBee3): Rating = B+ : It's a good bit of kit with remote sensors for the rooms that can detect where you are and prioritise the temp for those rooms that are occupied over those that are not.  You can control it from your phone, the Web on the the main controller and it is so much easier to program than traditional devices.  The downside is you must have a "dumb" Heating / Aircon system and it will not work (easily) with those with "modern" digital controllers.  

- Irrigation (Rachio): Rating = A : A nice bit of kit that is not only easy to program (phone and Web apps) but is "smart" in that it will delay watering based on the current Weather forcast.  Also Cheaper than transitional controllers.  

- Intercom (Ness Smart Bell) : Rating = C- : A real disappointment.  You can have hw Door Stations, and apps for IOS/Andriod but it still misses some of the basics 30year old Intercom Systems could do, like Page all Stations, Hands Free comms, just piping music / radio.  I can now open a drive way gate or the door with my phone but a key is quicker.  You can also preview and communicate with who is at your door (and even open it remotly) but in practice you don't use this.

- Smart Power Points (Wemo) : Rating = B : Got a couple of these smart switches and I use one to control the amount of time my pool equipment runs when the off peak power supply runs (but had to write my own code).  Useful for special apps but apart from that I can turn my own stuff on and off better with the mark one finger or a remote control.

- Home Security (Homeboy) : Rating B : Pretty good device that I used for awhile but ended up going with a more traditional Home Video Security system (ubquiti) that does all the same stuff, does not need the "cloud" as is more scalable for the number of devices you may want.

- Smart Assistant (Amazon Echo) : Rating C : A gadget.  It mostly works... but Speech Recognition does not make stuff easier to do (even if it is "cool" for a bit).  Eg it is easier and more precise for me to change the volume but using my remote control or my fingers than saying "Alexa/Siri/Cortana, Tell Media Center to increase the volume a bit".

- Oven : TBA : We have a newish Meile oven that has a touch screen with pre-programmed range of cooking functions (eg cook at one temp for some time, add a shot of steam, heat at another etc).  This works really well but it is not *yet* an IOT devices but I can see newer models will be (to update the programmes and so you could monitor it from your phone etc).  I think this one will work well when it comes out.

Downsides:  The thing that niggles me with these devices is that if the company behind them goes broke, or discontinues support for your model then they are likely to stop working altogether or lose much of their functionality as the code to drive them is in the "cloud".  

The ones that seem to work best for me are those that elevate the "smartness" of the "dumber" device I had before and at a lower price.  Best examples are the Irrigation Controller and Thermostat.  Fails go to these that can not even replicate the features of the "dumb" devices they replaced that were cheaper such as my intercom.  Lost Souls go to those trying to do something I'm not sure I even want, much less need (current generation Smart Assistants).

Thanks
Nathan

PS - Why is a IP Intercom so hard?
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jmone

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 06:58:48 am »

Here is a neat list of IOT devices.  What strikes me is as you scroll though the list it is actually a pretty limited range of functionality offered by these devices. 
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JimH

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2016, 07:05:36 am »

It's still early.  Computing was around for several years before IBM made it credible (1981).  It then took another decade before it was affordable.  And XP (2001) was probably the first version of Windows that worked pretty well.
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jmone

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2016, 07:10:28 am »

I think IOT is here now, with the good devices I've got being both credible and affordable.  The market will weed out the others pretty quickly.
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JimH

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2016, 07:14:21 am »

I think it's barely past the novelty stage. 
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astromo

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 07:14:32 am »

Comprehensive review of your gear, Nathan. Nice work.

I've only got a switch from Efegy that's a simple timer that I use to switch a mozzie zapper. Handy because the power point is upstairs and its keeping a downstairs area clear of bugs. Doesn't zap much because the geckos gobble up the baddies first, basking in the purple glow of the UV light. Let's me switch the unit on outside its standard time window and it shuts down if I forget to do that job manually. So, with such a limited exposure to the the practical use of this kind of gear, I've got no basis to compare the article against.

Thanks for your insight.
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JimH

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2016, 07:15:46 am »

Yes, Nathan.  Very nice summaries.  Thanks.
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jmone

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2016, 07:37:58 am »

I think it's barely past the novelty stage. 
I agree that much is hype, novelty or exploratory.  My Rachio Irrigation control however is a great example of something that is easier to use, cheaper and much much better at doing it's job.  It is a "no brainer" and will make traditional irrigation controllers obsolete.  The battle will be which brand(s) will win as there are now several of these in the market.
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linutic

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2016, 11:03:39 am »

Downsides:  The thing that niggles me with these devices is that if the company behind them goes broke, or discontinues support for your model then they are likely to stop working altogether or lose much of their functionality as the code to drive them is in the "cloud".  

I think this is a really important point.   I fooled around with a Smartthings hub, which is pretty cool, but it stopped working when I disconnected the Internet.  I don't want my light switches and door locks to be entirely dependent on somebody else's server.  I think it is important that whatever the system is, it is self-contained in my home, relying only on AC power.

When I am away from home, I want to be able to access my home, and then using a cloud server is marginally ok.  Still I would rather connect in to my own device than to proxy through a data center.   As I am comfortable setting up port forwarding, I think that is the way to go.  Some folks have trouble with that, so a complete product should allow a proxy server.
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PerhapsPerhaps

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Re: View of IoT from The Economist
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2022, 07:45:13 am »

I stumbled over this nice thread while I am trying to get my head around what IoT can do for me. Since 2016 many of the arguments laid out remain valid. However, at least in Europe the environmental pressures have changed. I guess traditionally energy is cheap in North America and environmental consciousness hardly existing. While in Europe this may be different already for a while, with the current insane surge of energy prices IoT has gotten another look from me. In particular to save energy costs.

IoT helps me to control heating valves more precisely than traditional controllers could. And smart power sockets and switches avoid lamps left on when nobody is home or turn off equipment completely at night. Also, these devices keep track of the biggest spenders. Not much I can do about about the big energy consumers: washing machines or ovens - if I donít want to starve and stink. But even the washing machine has a smart plug now telling me how much it consumes.

Switches now work independent of wifi (Thread) or the internet (in combination with conventional switching) and with Matter coming, I hope to see more interoperability between.

Which brings me to the point. Traditionally JRiver holds a grudge on anything Apple (maybe for good reasons, but as an Apple user I fail to sympathise). So please, please dear JRiver, consider to support more Homekit, Matter, Siri, Homebridge, iOS, instead of only focussing on Alexa, Android, Z-Wave.
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