There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), and usually when anything gets that much attention bad things begin to happen. There are a bunch of people developing useless junk that they know they can sell it to consumers on the pretense that technology makes life better.
The Internet of Useless Things
The Internet of Things unfortunately, is full of useless things – things that consumers don’t need or don’t solve any of the problems people have. A cup that tells you what you’re drinking, a connected bookmark that when placed in a book securely stores your progress on the cloud, a spoon that monitors how fast you eat.
Now we’ll admit a few of the above mentioned products are made up, but why don’t you try your hand at telling which one’s the phony?
The smart cup is actually a product, and it costs $199 for telling you what you’re drinking, probably something you poured into it. The other two products are made up, but there’s a product called HAPIFork that does much of what the smart spoon does.
Research firm Gartner predicts that there will be over 4.9 billion connected devices in the world by the end of this year, making the IoT market worth $70 billion. While everyone admits that most of this growth will come from things like smart cars and enterprise & industry IoT, the market for ‘novel’ devices will also grow.
Mocking the Internet of Useless Things, design firm RehabStudios has come up with concepts for five utterly useless devices (some of which don’t sound all that stupid when compared to a few real products we’ve seen). Given how young the IoT device market is, there’s bound to be creative experimentation, but the problem a lot of developers face is not building products to solve consumer problems.
Not all IoT devices are stupid, but designers just need to put more thought into them. A smart cup that tracks what you’re drinking and calorie intake could be great, but cannot cost $199. RehabStudios has put together 5 principles for a better IoT, and we couldn’t agree more.

  1. More Learning, Less Interface – all IoT products should monitor, learn and adapt
  2. Numbers Need a Narative – data is meaningless to the common consumer
  3. Devices That Can Keep A Secret – security of IoT products is paramount
  4. Improvements Not Builds – an IoT device should extend an existing product’s utility
  5. It’s What’s Inside That Counts (too) – the right wireless communication, battery and sensor requirements are paramount

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