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The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
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William Frantz
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William Frantz,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/31/2013 | 10:46:00 PM
re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
Wait a minute. I will concede that networked devices currently aren't making the most of possibilities, but it's a start in the right direction. The first thing I want from networked appliances is load balancing for my home electrical service. For example, I want my washer, dryer, dishwasher, garage opener, vacuum, microwave, refrigerator and AC to coordinate. If the dishwasher is running, then wait a while before kicking on the fridge. If the washer is in the spin cycle, then pause the charger on my electric car. Not only does this help my community by reducing the likelihood of a brown-out, but in theory I might get a discount on my electrical service. Gas is the same way. I wish my new, tankless water heater would signal my furnace to wait a while so that I didn't have to install that expensive, 1" gas pipe designed to handle both appliances simultaneously. A little smarts there would have saved me real dough.
JANDERSON7112
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JANDERSON7112,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2013 | 3:26:01 PM
re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
its a real luxury to stretch out on the couch with an ipad versus a heaping laptop or tiny smartphone screen.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2013 | 3:08:12 PM
re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
"Would an insurance company pay to know if its health insurance clients keep only unhealthy food in their refrigerators, so it could mitigate a higher risk of health problems with higher premiums? Count on it."

In my experience, while you could make a case that this is true, most insurance companies understand that such an invasion of privacy would result in massive blowback against them and are unlikely to pursue it. A consultant told me once a story of a health insurer that ran a pilot program with a grocery store to see what data they could glean from the store's loyalty card. The company found that using the data from the loyalty program was as useful for underwriting purposes as a blood test. But the company decided not to change its practices due to concerns over the optics of it.

As far as connected cars go and the impact on insurance rates, so far very few companies are going to a purely "pay as you drive" model, where the data from the in-car device decides how low or high your premium is. Those companies tend to be marketed towards populations that have trouble obtaining insurance anyway, as sort of a "last resort." Instead, most companies are offering only discounts for people who opt in to the program Gă÷ if your driving shows that you are a nutcase, the worst that happens is that you don't get the discount.

In fact, I think it's more likely that the scenario you describe above Gă÷ where a health insurer gets information on the food in the refrigerator of one of its customers Gă÷ would be used in a similar manner. For example, if you tend to select healthier foods, you get a premium break, if you load up on junk, everything stays the same.

There is still a lot of balancing to be done between insurers, policyholders, and regulators to figure out what exactly is appropriate use of these new data sources.

Nathan Golia
Insurance & Technology
Deirdre Blake
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Deirdre Blake,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2013 | 8:49:46 PM
re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
Seems folks have been trying to "futurize" the fridge for eons now, see If You Can't Stand the Coding, Stay Out of the Kitchen: Three Chapters in the History of Home Automation http://is.gd/aBE4Qm
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
1/14/2013 | 8:00:54 PM
re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
I agree that having everything connected all the time isn't necessarily a good idea, or even very useful. The refrigerator is a perfect example. What worries me is the day when appliances and other products I buy come with some kind of network connectivity by default, rather than as an option I select.

Drew Conry-Murray
Network Computing
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/14/2013 | 5:48:08 PM
re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
The car data example is the one I hear come up most often with regard to privacy concerns. What are the privacy examples that worry you?

Laurianne McLaughlin
InformationWeek
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2013 | 3:50:23 PM
re: The Internet Of Pointless, Perilous Things
I loved this piece. I think one of the reasons I haven't purchased a tablet is because I ca perform the same functions via my smartphone or my laptop. I always felt the iPad and other tablets were unnecessary if you had the other two things. On the same token, I agree with your commentary about the refrigerator and about the Internet of Things as a whole. The industry, it seems, is developing products that simply include Internet functionality or contain smartphone- or tablet-like features without adding any real value.


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