So the refrigerator said to me…

Image result for smart appliancesEveryday connectivity sending and receiving data. It is part of the definition of the Internet of things and the devices that are connected. Every day you can get and receive more information and the day before because you still have yesterday’s information.

We don’t think about a lot of the information that is for sure. Who thinks about the information their car provides them on the commute to work? Current oil temperature, performance of the engine. If you have Navdy, Automatic or other of the driving tools that leverage the management port of your car you may pay attention to more information, but usually after driving. Or when you are sitting in traffic. The faster you have to go the less you look at the information connected and provided.

The same is true of your home network. You get data all the time, but who has time to look at it. You don’t know that there are bits of malware and other bad actors on your home network. They are using your freely provided bandwidth to do other things. Some of the bad actors are items that are stupid, in that they are simply not acting the way they were designed. Some are struggling to phone home, the ET of your home network. Others were put there with malicious intent, using your bandwidth to support the goals of a hacker.

Image result for smart appliancesAll of this happening all day, every day right under your own nose.

In fact, we can break devices into traditional categories. There are dumb devices that are not aware of if they are off or on. They consume power and waste your money regardless of there being on or off. Televisions are often huge power vampires. You don’t realize that when that really cool flat screen is off it is siphoning power.

Then there are connected devices that don’t have a lot of device security, so hacking them isn’t horribly hard. They are connected dumb devices. Dumb in that they are easily altered without you knowing that they have been altered. You lose a portion of your bandwidth to these devices because they are providing that IoT, all day every day data to someone else.

Another type of device sitting on your network is the ET, the phone home devices. These are devices that even when you aren’t using them are talking to the mother ship. There is some devise that you want talking all the time. Home weather stations should communicate with their publication system all the time. But there are devices that chatter too much. Refrigerators should know that they can publish their information once a day. Not 100 times a day. The goal of new age smart appliances should always be minimizing the impact on the home network. In fact, you should be able to set the times the devices update the Internet. The contents of you frig are critical when you connect to it, and right before you go shopping. Otherwise who needs to know that you have 4 lonely eggs sitting in the egg tray? Well you do if you are making Quiche for dinner and you only have 4 eggs. Then you have to stop at the store, but you can ping the frig and ask it as you are preparing to head home. How many eggs do I have.

So, the definition of IoT includes everyday communication. But the concept of communication has to be built into the connection and data. Everyday means truly the data the device has is provided every day it is needed. When the data is critical path, it is available. When it is no longer critical path, then it is not provided. The intelligence of synchronizing data with intent and purpose is critical. Telling me I left the iron or my coffee pot on – critical. Telling me that the light in my closet is on not so much.

Going forward devices will get smarter. The smarter devices will reduce their impact on your home network. Additionally, they will also be being to include security that will notify you of bad actors. For example, they will have the ability to tell you that your coffee pot is secretly talking to someone that your refrigerator doesn’t know. Or that your toaster is actually watching you.


Network lover, smart appliance fan