Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Manifesto for the Internet of Things

My and others' vision for the Internet of, well, Everything is:

To invisibly merge the real and the virtual, creating ambient and ubiquitous interaction, and to empower people over the control and sharing of their physical items, virtual data and the rules that animate them.

This requires a low-frictionseamless, open, automated IoT ecosystem, so that people can feel in control of their Things and trust the IoT to work for them almost unconciously.

Towards that goal, here is a Manifesto for the Internet of Things:
  1. I want adding a Thing to be as simple as switching it on
  2. I want all the Things I own to work together, to look the same if they are the same
  3. I want to be able to see and own all the data created by my Things
  4. I want to be in full and sole control of my Things
  5. I want to only see what I need to see and for everything else to be automatic
  6. I want to be able to see and easily modify the rules that are running my Things

Networked Light Example

Take the vanilla example of a networked light with a manual switch:
  1. I should be able to just plug in the light and it should be ready to go
  2. It should look exactly like all the other lights in my house on the network so that I can turn it off with all the others, and it should automatically detect the light level sensor
  3. I, and only I, should be able to see that it's been turned on or off manually, unless I share that information
  4. I, and only I, should be able to turn it on or off remotely, unless I share that ability
  5. The base rule could be "on if room occupied and it's dark"; and I don't need a notification if someone overrides the rule by hitting the manual switch
  6. I should be able to see that rule and modify it to suit my lifestyle
Being able to turn on a light using a dedicated app locked in to a proprietary cloud server after half an hour of configuration and logging in is low value, high cost.

If you are already in the app because it works for everything in the house and it knows where you are so the light is just there in view, a few seconds after plugging it in for the first time, and the interaction is direct over the local network, then the cost-value balance will tip. If it just turns itself on and off automatically instead of you doing it but still lets you manually override that, then it becomes compelling - more so if you can easily adjust the rules for that behaviour.


  1. It's coming from a different angle, but did you see this statement from the Open IoT assembly? https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yZAsNaesDocqqtkFgucbFS_zE4tDP1Jsfszsvls7Yuc/

  2. No, I've not seen that one. Interesting. Like you said, different. :-)