Can you take the Internet out of the Internet of Things?

Can you take the Internet out of the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things and the Internet might seem inextricably linked, but, increasingly, there are questions centered around how IoT devices should work with one another — and what happens when the Internet connection goes down? Users also are concerned with the privacy implications of having their data stored on a corporation’s servers, and they don’t like having an Internet connection as a potential point of failure. These reactions are rational, but reminiscent of online shopping circa 2000, which, ironically, might now be more secure than shopping in physical retail stores. To understand why device makers are relying on an Internet connection and cloud services, we need to look at how our IoT devices work. We need to understand data sources, processing, device to device communication and, ultimately, how one device can leverage another device. Data sources As a maker of climate control devices, there are only a few critical sources of data: humans, their environment (indoor and out) and energy utilities. There are humans who have a desire to be comfortable, which boils down to having a certain air temperature, radiant temperature and humidity, among other things. Humans live in a variety of geographies, meaning there are often large differences between what they like inside and actual outdoor conditions. Imparting comfort into a space with a large indoor/outdoor difference takes energy, and because energy is subject to supply and demand forces, using it intelligently means understanding its price at any given time. Let’s distill these down to some concrete data sources. Phones, as arguably today’s ultimate wearable, are a source of data, including location, both macro level (at home or away) and micro level (in a particular room for more advanced systems like ours). They also provide information from human input, accelerometer movement and, in some cases, their […]