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Do Dogs Really Need Fitbits? Thoughts on the Internet of Things


I recently read a Cyberwire article about the Senior Executive Cyber Security Conference. Dr. Avi Rubin, who is a professor at Johns Hopkins University, gave a presentation about hacking the Internet of Things. Basically, we’re exposing vulnerabilities that have the potential to be hacked simply for the convenience that connected devices provide. Who knew that the gyroscope in a smart phone could be used as a microphone?

The phrase “just because you can connect something to the Internet doesn’t mean you should” got me thinking about what technology is out there that really doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet. So, here are a few examples:

Cars are more connected than ever. I figured this out when my car contacted the dealer to set up a service appointment without my help. Lots of new models are rolling WiFi hotspots. Now, vehicle-to-vehicle communication is making it possible for cars to share data with each other through the cloud.

Check in on your pets remotely. Okay, I’d do that. And you can control a built-in laser pointer to play with your pet while you aren’t there with them. There’s an app for it.

How about a fitness tracker for your dog?  Yes, a Fitbit for your dog. Technically, Bluetooth and not WiFi. On the other hand, they don’t just have an app.  They have a complete API and a developer’s portal.

WiFi-controlled coffee pot: There’s an app for it.

WiFi-controlled crock pot: Yeah, there’s an app for that too.

Okay, those could be practical too. It says you can brew a pot of coffee from your bed or adjust the crockpot if you are running late.

How about an Internet-connected device that’s really out there?

WiFi-connected toaster that burns the weather forecast onto your toast:  It’s just a prototype, but I bet there’s an app for it.

How far can you take connectivity? How about a tent in the great outdoors? Not only a solar-powered WiFi hotspot, but also with a heated floor and a GPS locator to get you back to you campsite.  It doesn’t have an app, but there’s an LCD central control and it glows at night.

I don’t think I need all that extra connectivity. Instead, I’ll stick with my traditional smart phone that I can charge and use almost anywhere, even if I need to charge it using a campfire.

You don’t need an app for that.

— Joseph Karolchik, President



talk’n tech

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