The Internet of Stupid Things

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The internet of stupid things is a more charitable phrase for what many consumers call the Internet of Shit. Yes lots of products can be internet enabled, but should they be? There is a mix of challenges that result in products which fall into the following two categories:

  • Products that are internet enabled but shouldn’t be – the Happy Fork or the Griffin Smart Toaster being classic examples. I found the Griffin Smart Toaster particularly disappointing as the company’s products such as the PowerMate are generally really good. It doesn’t take the greatest imagination to see how a smart toaster could even be hacked; causing a fire – hence the internet of stupid things. Why do household appliances really need to be attached to technology. Teasmades woke you up and made a mug of tea for you to have first thing. This was a product that reached peak popularity in the 1960s and 1970s – well before cloud services.
  • Products that would be benefit from tech, but shouldn’t rely on the the cloud. I’d argue that Nest would fit in this category where cloud outages could have serious impacts on the consumer. American Nest customers have had some hard winter nights when their Nest control system went down due to cloud outages. There was no off-cloud or manual control mode that the Nest devices could take advantage of.

It is interesting to see that Li & Fung (who are famous for global supply chain management provided to western brands and retailers) are involved in this video. It is also interesting that they are taking such a proactive view on experience design education.

The qualitative design research Li & Fung did on skiing wearables for a client – made me wonder what value do Li & Fung’s clients bring to the table. More on design here.