You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

In the classic cult film The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya eventually has to speak up to Vizzini’s repeated use of the word “inconceivable.”  I have reached that point with the use of the phrase “Internet of Things.”  While it may seem inconceivable, I don’t think many of the people referring to IoT really know what the phrase means.

Let’s start with a definition.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

I get it.  This is exciting stuff. Pretty soon all of your appliances, your wearable technology, the vehicle you drive, your shower curtain…everything…will be connected to the internet and it will all be sharing data.  That is pretty darn cool…well, once somebody figures out how to secure all that data so it’s not used in nefarious ways.

So in what inconceivable fashion do we see the phrase “Internet of Things” bantered about?  I was reading a post last week by an employee who works for a company focused on end user computing. Mind you, this company has been imaging and deploying laptops and desktops for quite some time.  Suddenly, they are helping customers advance with The Internet of Things without changing a single practice.  I really wanted to call him up and simply say that was inconceivable….you are doing the same thing you’ve been doing for the past 20 years…how is that IoT? I guess in some third party removed way my friend is providing computers that are connected to the internet and do run apps that could read the data that is being shared by IoT devices… but how far can we stretch that logic?

It get’s better.  The Internet is a network of IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Many of the new devices that are part of the IoT are not directly connected to the Internet using these protocols. For example your IoT devices at home may communicate via Bluetooth until they hit a device that communicates back to the mother ship. In any case the lack of use of the Internet makes me question the very use of the phrase IoT since the Internet may or may not be actually involved.  I know right….INCONCEIVABLE.

I guess it’s a little bit of the nature of the IT industry to find a buzz word or phrase and latch on to it, but I have to be honest here….overuse of that word or phrase diminishes the meaning, confuses the marketplace, and irritates the bejesus out of people like me.

So the next time you’re in a room with some IT “rock star,” “ninja,” or “guru” spouting about “The Cloud” service they provide “is like Uber” for something and they’ve developed a “Game Changing” philosophy on how to prepare you for “The Internet of Things”….simply say “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

After all, somebody has to say something intelligent.  Oh…and by the way….the following video I believe accurately depicts the Internet of Things.