In search of a purpose

I’m an early adopter for these sorts of things. I have mis-spent many hours tinkering and tweaking the early incarnations of this software and that hardware. I own stuff from this brand. And yet I’m still left dumbfounded when I see advertising like this:

What on earth were they thinking?

I’ve been on holiday a few times. I’m sure we all have. When is the last time you thought – whilst sat by a beach or a pool, or scaling the Empire State Building or shopping on 5th Avenue – “I wish I could switch those lights on at home”? From a product perspective this is a ‘problem’ that precisely no one has.

‘Ah’, I hear you thinking. Turning the lights on and off can deter intruders, as if before the Internet of Things, we were all constantly fretting about this need. Get a burglar alarm and some beware the dog stickers first. Perhaps a better lock.

A visit to the Apple store finds a vast array of such pointlessness. A cup that can tell you the heat of its contents. A device to tell you if you’re stood up straight. I’m not joking. No one has figured it out.

There is a minor frisson when a button on the phone turns on the telly and turns down the lights. But I don’t think technology has invented this luxury – they used to have that sort of thing in the Bond movies – just made it a bit cheaper and, frankly, crankier.

Of course I’ll keep fiddling with IoT because I like messing around with new stuff but we are still a long way off a mass market application.