Filtered for the Internet of Things

10.48, Tuesday 13 Jan 2015


What acronym do we give the Internet of Things? John Gruber:

“IoT” is a terrible acronym, especially in a world where Helvetica and Helvetica-like sans serifs are so popular. Capping the “o” too would help a little – it would make it much more clear that it’s spelling EYE-oh-TEE, not ell-oh-TEE.

Ok, IOT it is.

I wrote a post back in 2013 about how any of Amazon, Apple, and Google could become the default platform for IOT.

Since then…

Amazon have launched new Amazon Web Services tech focused on supporting sensors and web-connected devices.

Google acquired the home gadgets company Nest, back in January 2014. Since then they’ve been expanding the platform for developers, and there are now many home products that work with Nest. My feeling is that, for IOT, this is the best way to build a platform: Start with a killer product, then include partners, then finally move to 3rd party developers.

And Apple released Homekit, some standard tech for wireless chips that makes 3rd party products work better with iPhones. For instance, every Homekit product has to support identification: Users need ways to identify the accessory they are adjusting, so make sure to provide quick access to a control that physically identifies the accessory. In the case of a light bulb, for example, you might let users flash the bulb using your app to confirm its identity in the home.

Most interesting? Apple has added features to the Apple TV box so that it enables Homekit products being controlled from outside the home: So, while commands like ‘Siri, turn off the lights in the living room’ will always work while connected to your home Wi-Fi network, they won’t from the airport unless you have an Apple TV.

Curious. Sounds like Apple is building the right thing.


Half of the Internet of Things is the things.

But making hardware is hard. Or rather… it requires a process which isn’t familiar to most of the startups who turn their attention to hardware, and investors aren’t familiar with how to fund hardware startups.

So specialised startup incubators are emerging.

The Economist has a special report. Hacking Shenzhen, Why southern China is the best place in the world for a hardware innovator to be.

Focuses on Haxlr8r.


Two hardware startups I’ve run across recently…

Re-Timer, a wearable headset that uses bright lights to tinker with your circadian rhythms – and fix jet lag.

And Kisha, the umbrella you’ll never lose. It’s a weather forecast app, plus an alert that goes off if you leave your umbrella outside your “safe” places.


From IBM, this Executive Report, Device democracy: Saving the future of the Internet of Things (via @bruces).

Liquifying the physical world.

Great summary of the opportunities and challenges in scaling IOT.

Challenges identified:

  • The cost of connectivity
  • The Internet after trust
  • Not future-proof
  • A lack of functional value
  • Broken business models

From experience, these are exactly the challenges businesses face as they have to adapt to connected products.

I’m impressed with what IBM are up to at the moment. Their collaboration with Apple has produced some solid business apps, and their new design language is great.

Also: The UK government’s approach to the Internet of Things is laid out in the Blackett review, a paper by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser on what the IOT opportunities are and how the government can help.

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