Pragmatic 9: The Internet Makes It Even Better

19 January, 2014


John and Ben discuss the practical risks associated with connecting every single device we own to the internet. What happens when ore functionality is tied to a remote server and the company changes or closes? Timely in light of Nest Labs acquisition.

Transcript available
Is pragmatic weekly discussion shall contemplating the practical application of technology exploring the real-world trade-offs we look at our grid ideas are transformed into products and services that can generalise nothing is as simple as it seems that Alexandra may cause the judge Eddie 800 and doing very well Hazelden and a great awesome well are just gonna open up as I do most are at most episodes some Western thank use arm some quick thank you for Twitter shouts to were asked feels it's a nice nice things that showed our gym Bien Colo are Dave Little League art I think it is our may yank your death Hannes angler I think that is and also to Adam Wright who is apparently binge listened to episodes 1 to 6 in the space of one week arm not sure if that's wise but some is still enjoying it so that that's good outnumbering the other one arm and a hobby get there yeah that's that's intense anyway okay arm but is enjoying it so as I've missed anyone it's been a busy week as I've actually started a new job this week with a different company so a stubborn flat out that I think is a wrong list if I missed your apologies are I always say thank you back on Twitter as well so thank you for the shallots are also special thank you for articles written about the show thank you to David Hutchison for our writing a nice article are on his site about the show thank you very much that and also to Derek Martin he referenced a show in a 1080p article these links are both of those the shallots if you're curious we also had four amazing iTunes reviews in the last four days are and they're all from a different country so are we have far and I do live these are just usernames but no and JR zero from the UK are rush ringleader from the US conical are Marcio KL from Canada and is Hirsch shrugging 980 2W 22 from Switzerland of the Karelia fusion it does a little bit here arm in any case so thank you so much for the iTunes reviews especially really appreciate that and also just stoked that everyone is so enjoying the show so much so thank you again we also had a pole at the ER end of last episode ends we've had quite I think what a reasonable response I'd like to's visible upfront thank everybody who took the time to participate in the poll really do appreciate it will try to gauge are based on some the feedback we had early on about the usage of imperial and metric in the show based on the response as far as I can see there is certainly enough interest in mentioning both pairs of sets of units are forced to continue our conversations in both imperial and metric so the problem is I think that in the end we we we sort of thing in our own measurement system that we had mostly we grew up what we grew up in and we we tend you to think in those measurements and its ex-con like learning a language is you feel you've mastered language I think when you when you start to think in that language and is you look at something you know straight away what the word is in that other language and I think it's much the same with measurement and are I just want to make sure that everyone is so is covered so thank you very very much the input on that one it was so it was interesting and I think it's sort of a highlighted to me at least that's arm that is a great day this is diversity of listeners in the show that so I will make sure I count for include everybody so the next question we had was about doing a live show and we had I thinks enough interests that we should now do a live shows a trial and are we going to do that is our next week for our episode 10 will be doing that one our lives and the details fallout will come out day during this week are from from Ben near and you'll see that through the through our run through Twitter and so on arm banded your talk briefly about that idea is that what will minimal tweak what we do and what a linkup on the say arm lingered over to it and are now through breezy excellent okay so those people that are very keen keep an eye on the site given on the Twitter feeds and you'll see that during the week are okay arm so again that was the pollster thank you very much for everyone for participating really appreciated are so much and is arm is the poll one more thing before you're stuck into the topic your forts for this week and that is we have made a decision to restructure the shows some of you will have already noticed this others may not be episodes are still numbered sequentially but will from 1234 and so on and they'll be associated with a specific topic so one episode will be one topic whatever that may be and there may be few little side strands in there as we as we discuss in and delve into different topics but the idea is that if we can talk about our electricity and power generation they'll be one topic like that the battery problem for example Avery at all about life-hardware that'll be one episode one topic and whenever this follow-up to any episode all it will be numbered along with this the app so that it is writing so so this follow-up to episode to the battery problem it'll be listed as episode to a if this additional follow-up beyond that will be them to be to see 2D and so on the idea is that if you're interested in if you listen to Barry from an eastern follow-up on that and you can then choose to download those five episodes and listen to them if you're not interested then there is no need to download them you don't have to listen to them if you want to because I appreciate that some people may not be interested in learning earlier for example website we talked about done noise and hearing issues well maybe some people managed in that so this follow-up episode eight that ICAA come up in future and decided then honest and listening to that and that's fine that's no problem not every topic will appeal to everybody and do and that's okay there are also indexed by date so in other words come out with date and as the feed progresses so that gives you the ability to understand at what point in time that that follow-up was actually recorded so you'll know that based on the date the feed that it will be released around about the same time as the main episode for that week so what would Ben and I doing his will recall the follow-up segment on the same time that we are doing the main topic will be released separately so you can tell that sad to see that was released three or four weeks after them the actual topic at this discussion we thought about whether or not we would put in a separate feed or would have the same feed and we decide to go the same feed simply because it gets I think it would be to too much troubles are someone to have to listen like to follow to feeds so we are joint follow-up which is still part of the show then you know you would notify follow-up feed as opposed to the main topic feed but this point in time obviously is an experiment we have an dining like this before which is why try something different and will re-evaluate in a few episodes times the house working for people and if there is enough demand to split up and we might do that but idea is we try and keep episodes to about 60 minutes maybe 75 minutes in length and most follow-up topics are yellow on the order of 20 to 25 minutes and that gives you the listener the opportunity to choose pick and choose that which you will listen to because a lot download a lot listen a lot that's fine you can listen to a just like you would our show that is so cut more in a more standard way whereby you do follow-up manager main topic and then sometimes they have logical and after dark or after episode wanted to get more granular because there is an elegant easy listening trail you can only do better-known and in we we get that if we put anything out of a two-hour episode to be at 11 ask Sal is ideally episodes were two hours is a lot of information in them and sometimes outlet that may still happen but in the end by severing a default gives you the listener the ability to speak and choose what you want listen to NASA flexibly we wanted to get put we want to put that power and control in your hands so that you can choose and how arm that's what we're doing and were obviously very very keen to hear your feedback on whether you think that works or whether you think doesn't arm happy to really would like to hear feedback on that so is a lot of extra work for Arthur Ben I appreciate the extra work that that he is putting into one to do that so will will see how it goes and is arm without further ado thing is enough that Mike into today's topic but we are there is an incident recently with a little company called nest and I want to wear thermostats exactly I want talk about what's a growing trend and some of the concerns and I think people need to adjust expectations for and that is the whole idea that the Internet makes it even better like you got products whatever it might be yellow light switch house which are lightbulb you know thermostat and so on and the Internet will make it better because it's connected you can do really cool things with connected things so there will come a time where everything has a conductivity thing about the wife will be low-energy Bluetooth whatever it might be and then there will be a server somewhere where that data can be aggregated link with other data and then you can do cool stuff with it automated stuff with it you can sort of take that to the next level whatever that may be and is that all sounds lovely and futuristic and wonderful but there are some big problems with it and one of things that worries me when I see things like nest and are not the only example is that what happens when the Internet piece of it goes away for some reason so I want to talk about that so when you've got a standalone device even if it's a software-based device of this sum, software or firmware and is hard programmed into it or whether or not it's it's got some level of software that you can use for interacting with it if that's independent that means my senior paramedic in function without connection to the Internet it will work perfectly fine with our network connected it doesn't require programming go the old-fashioned idea of you want to update the firmware on a printer let's say you had to have a USB disc that Orono US member back in the back back when I remember there were a special memory card you have to put these things are what USB they were run again it might be a CompactFlash card let's say any will have to be formatted in the right format and that would have to have a boot ROM loaded onto it you go to the copy and you plug this thing in you put into a special maintenance mode and that would up later so update software rightly the serial port on the back matey get that that sort of thing exactly and there were all these antiquated ways that they used to do it of course go before then there was no software update all and it was just well this is what you machines got nationwide different EEPROM on it we are physically extract the EEPROM you gotta put a new EEPROM in your weather with a pen extractor and I appeal cc extractor and there you go right that was it the whole idea of of of updating firmware on devices are go through three different through soft means has been a revolution in soffit in the hardware I shouldn't say hardware any device has hardware and software in it it's been a massive massive leap in the last 15 to 20 years as the network as the Internet has spread further and further and more and more people are getting Wi-Fi in their houses with ADSL with cable modems or with files the more we do the more connected we get the lower that barrier becomes to the point at which now we have our operating systems whereby they simply call back to a server somewhere business offer update available updates in the background by the way is update your software click restart you done the convenience of it is very very attractive and very addictive in many ways the sources of advantages to but it also worries me because if the Internet goes away you still have to have a product that is gonna work you can't if you put yourself in a position whereby you have a perfectly independent device if the Internet disappears or baby won't get firmer updates that's okay probably go but if it means you can't access certain features of it that you bought this device for the NASA bit of a problem because the a facet of the battle drew you in so let's take an example light switch any old Roma lights was not automated just just a plain old simple lightswitch bylines which I have an expectation that things gonna work for maybe 2030 years may be more than that nano some I've seen light switches and houses last 5060 years old the old Bakelite ones for example Mayo they are there still go on bed chronically faded and look a bit strange and rustic but they still working so if you buy an Internet connected device that has remote access features the question is should you expect the same usability in 20 or 30 years time so as some sort of evidence to build my case I will refer in particular to our one which I think is a case in point to an extent it's not home automation device because let's face it you know Internet connected home automation devices are very new entrance and I seen you in the last 2 to 3 years I really knew is it something that's become it's it's starting to accelerate we talk about this previously on the app so we did about automation but the point is that there was a device called the peak EEE K and is not sure if you're reminiscing it was a was never released in in Australia but I was aware of it from following what was going on North America time coverage on different blogs and on time and it was induced 2008 rate remember this grimace and it's basically the concert was data plan essentially pay for it upfront and it was a lifetime cost right so is extremely well cheap let's be honest cheap hardware year and they had special deals they the company RP had special deals with the articles T-Mobile and a few others and they will provide connectivity and peak would provide a service that would do all the aggregation and compression was a soft con like the way BlackBerry works a little bit but the idea is that our with BlackBerry you can buy a blackberry server and you can put that on your premises and your location and that will do all the data compression and an oil BS with email features an interaction with exchange so sends a very minimal amount data out of the devices and that was the whole family is liver design fraternity rate and this was the yes that was the big decisions are your so the idea though is that you cite a centralised server peak at the same kind of architecture based on my understanding in CO from incorrect then please correct me but I believe that in the end they were in charge of their service lassos are pulses of different data and so on present that the genius cloud are yet look I'm not okay so let's just get ahead of me a little bit there are nice to such assessor you done about that name anyway now the devices did not sell well but they just didn't and the reasons they didn't I've been hotly debated but frankly when you've got something that looks like our pager with a keyboard on an 11 they did they look like maybe a fat credit card with little keys on the outs mile yet it's like well I've got this iPhone and the warranted irony you also do thousand eight as those the price you and me had this thing been launched 10 years earlier it would have been a completely different story around your whether or not they still were around I don't know but now I'm getting ahead of myself so 2012 they essentially cut off their service they discontinue all support for all the peak hardware that had that was out that they set up were done we can move to this thing work on genius cloud and now we've got money and we don't really care at Harley was using anyway so shrugged whatever very dismissive very how should I say arm little unprofessional maybe are certainly not particularly concerned about the users and the user's well-being and there are people that love these things is courageous in the forms for it was on the forms of these things and there are some people really love them man there is also people love blackberries but you drug but the point is having never use when I couldn't comment but when you bought it the idea was that you had lifetime use of now whether peak is different to me I realise that let let let's be honest that mobile devices are generally considered disposal you know they have a much little much smaller lifespan I was saying things are lightswitch early on) while lightswitch sits on the wall it doesn't move its permanently attached doesn't get dropped you hopefully you don't hit it with a sledgehammer or any other blunt instrument you I'm not head-butting it EEO barring serious catastrophe it's not gonna have any issues whereas a mobile phone can be dropped it can get wet reference from the toilet are everything is written in the toilet anyway point in his you could drop orange use on like having my wife's 3GS is also the things can happen to it because it's physically disconnected EEO so therefore it can get beaten up and trashed and hence can have a short lifespan you take a lightswitch other wall carried in your pocket and see how long it lasts guarantee would be 20 years my duties in a way do that so okay I'm out of the park I feel like telling a lightswitch and I am sorry a Sicilian point is what was my point yes of course so the point is that although the peak was a mobile device and had a shorter life expectation there were plenty of peaks out there that was still working just fine when they pull the plug and there is an expectation when I say lifetime and it was part of the whole while it was 70 were outraged about is that they they put money down upfront no ongoing costs it was like there you go it's lifetime for this device and you've got existing apparently I get sipped data it was all highly compressed whatever atoms of neo-whatever but their business plan required service to support them and the service support was based on the concept of ongoing revenue but there was no ongoing revenue or rather their high-level selling enough to create that sort of thinking about this I thought I thought about Apple when you think about it at all really doesn't the majority of its business model is based on selling hardware and now that we've got Internet connectivity and connected devices and acquire the quote unquote the cloud you know now that you've got this all is all that takes servers which takes you know electricity to run air-conditioning technicians things break you know you put a server it's only good for five years let's say that you upgraded ongoing costs and how that funded the sale of new hardware what is that rely on and that relies on good ongoing hardware sales so the way Apple mitigate their risk as they have different product lines so I got iPods iPhones iPads Max the occasional display not retina desktop display yet for example but they have all these different products and the point is the majority of the stuff that they do the vast majority is funded by the sale of the hardware so where peak failed is the hardware so we can sell enough there were enough people which then it was too late to market and they simply could not continue to fund or chose not to continue to fund what was essentially allow a product that was pure loss as it is generating loss for them to fulfil the service and I focus on cloud stuff and God knows what the hell buddies and is that sitdown consumer space now so it was a very hundred dollars you know when I'm in it was not cheap but it was only was it was like drive right minor was the and asked them what that mean who's lifetime yes yes exactly bigger bigger short lived animal lifetime available under I don't know what it's disingenuous and it's it's a bit scummy but look whatever the point is that the peak fell apart for the fact the fact the business model was not sustained by subscription they did not have ongoing income or revenue and that that you can get away with that if you've got enough scale in your hardware and your hardware is is essentially wearing out such a rate and is good enough that people come back and by the next generation every year to year three is four years rate like Apple has but if you don't have that the model doesn't work okay so now is talk little bit about nest so it was founded 2010 and recently was sold to Google after quite a chunk of change certainly wouldn't mind seeing those figures in my bank account but never mind that won't happen so there model was to sell a piece hardware were starting up the thermostat later on they did a smoke detector thing was and is again same con of ideas like a one-off purchase updates free over the air and everything it's got Wi-Fi connectivity and a collectivity you can download an act for your iPhone and you can access the settings on the device from outside the home you could modify the temperature in change bits and bobs and so on are all remotely that was yellow wonderful and cool but the thing that worries me is that in this sort of disturbed the technical side if you got if you can ADSL modem you've no doubt you've got a firewall with the essentially with the way you get one IP address allocated to you on the public facing site on severe Internet wireless network interface Ó la Internet when and then everything in the new houses on a subnet it's all surrounded through is already through your router obviously what that means is that there is no direct path to get to a computer so if I put a request out of the net I go to go to sidebar well that request starts at my computer it goes to the router the relevant figures out where it's going but it contains a trace back such that when you get the data it can go to the public IP address and then back to your computer again so the trick because then that means that no one can find your computer or I can do is find your router and a solider firewall while anyway that's one way of doing it the point is that that in order to overcome that waddle like for example La I use are logged in on one of my Macs and it sits behind a file has at work we install software on the Mac and it will go and register with log me in and it tells logged me in the IP address that sitting behind a path to get the machine and that runs in the background all the time and all these devices do something very similar report back to a server and that server keeps track of what is where so when you open up your iOS device in your law your android device to control your nest from Mount about it will go on that that server so that application has to talk to the server to get the path to the your thermostat so that server component your muffin you I'm assuming of course you're not a geek if you're a geek and it's all it's all know you could set up port forwarding in your router you could get a fixed IP address which costs more are we could use a dynamic DNS is a whole bunch of different solutions but you could get into your system if you set up correctly whether or not the nest in particular specifically would support that I couldn't say but the point I'm trying to make is that in these market and in the market today people don't know how to do that I want to do that unless you're a geek you're not gonna know how to do that so what you do you have a centralised server to go back to so that you can coordinate the control of these things is not rocket science it's just you insist it's the the price of doing business for simplicity and that's you and that's okay until the server isn't there anymore now I'm saying okay the nest is bought by Google I'm not writing their nests obituary I'm just saying and there's no reason to suspect actually made our reason to suspect there is no evidence to suggest that Google are going to just shut it down any point however if you're a Google's history they do that quite a bit they shut down web services all the time but the nest is in a Web server is exactly it's a it's a different hardware device that has additional features added by being Internet connected that remote control ability and the ability to set itself to adjust its learned behaviours and so on this is coming from someone I just admit but made up right now I haven't used in this I don't have a nest and suddenly only get one I properly could but I have no use for one because I want air-conditioner in house and that's it is no ratings not only reading and most houses in Australia have central heating we don't have boilers and heaters and night stuff most houses don't have gas to them though I will your gas and where I am there's there's no pipe Plaza pipe gas anywhere it's all done through armed gas cylinders it's just start a stopover we don't need it because it's when when cold enough for very cold climate that's a different story so and when not in one of the key demographic one of the market thereafter and that's fine most has done over thermostat in them as don't you go on your neck initially set the tablet from the AC unit in that's it that's about control you get mind you nest might be a do something with that potentially I guess baby but I did look into that and it sorted beyond the scope of this discussion anyway the point of what I'm getting at is that if you buy a thermostat and any old run-of-the-mill thermostat you so temperature you walk away sign tells and doesn't learn there are there are thermostats out there I believe greatly from wrong but are can do a little bit of learning but what's interesting is that all the extra features that the nesting is not because of the remote access ability and that remote access is what draws a lot of people to getting that the next fact you can monitor it remotely you can adjust remotely you can tweak the settings from a review like that that's appealing so what happens if that goes away well you've got an expensive learning thermostat now if greater detail that wrong please correct me that's fine because I haven't used one how about ongoing based on everything I've read and seen a book of the videos and demos and so on and in many respects the specifics of it is not the point the point is if you buy the nest thermostat with the intention of using any of the Internet connected features at all and suddenly they are removed well without the lightswitch problem you're not gonna get the sort of collectivity a lifespan out of this thing the feature said that you bought it for in any amount time you expected so in 10 years you may lose it or five years you may lose themselves to work fine for another 10 1520 years but the main reason you bought it is gone after only five or 10 let's say and I think that's pretty bad you having feature subtracted from your product so a little bit more discreet about the nest will move on and that is some more related to the fact that Holly will sue them as a point of note they also develop their own competing products are figures released in 2012 and Yates apart from the fact that it's ugly as hell fits our EF daily well I see do cross paths Honeywell gear from time to time in my line of work but you may have thermostats generally years ago I had to build a arm met in flash media EER software regret regression of a Honeywell thermostat UI on contempt are bad and while what is this insane lady was the stars out of five out of 575 your folder because it was the idea of anyone actually working away through the use of things bottle my mind while I was making I just who is gonna do this but we always others that we had all Honeywell Dale once never just simple but better area as you hold the whole saying that someone has to know that someone is to build a better mousetrap or do they need to build a better mousetrap in mousetraps we got were pretty good arm in ice it's it's like a knife but I get all pessimistic about it however are you do sometimes have to ask the question here is it is a better is a better result I think that in the end it probably is in this particular particular case how useful it is the energy savings and flexibility longer term is go very from individual to individual and that's not a judgement on this at all this is simply an illustration so next illustration move enough about nest and that is if this then that is something by FTT we talk it is really briefly and we may end up doing more follow-up on this and on the formation of submitted ends those a don't know what it is it's essentially a service that the estate allows you to connect together different are events that happened on different websites and now also homemaking equipment such that you for example you could arbitrate your geolocation and if this then that can be set up such that when you're the next number of miles or kilometres from home that it automatically turns on your air-conditioning system of warm the items on the TV settle turns on the cattle or whatever the hell that sort of thing it has that functionality it's actually much more complicated and as lots of things you can do order posting to Twitter and I think a few of the different things Esq is quite a fun little thing to play with but it is a web-based service it has a service somewhere all the software you're you're you're doing reprogramming with is not yours you are essentially relying completely on their system so let's say you are just nearing to home automation and you buy something from a balcony which is like you we mow which you can control your power PowerPoint wrote and that power was gonna fire up something in your house when you're the next number of plumbers at home now currently that is a function is not available to you are without any with a wealth let's Lexus say that that that the bell can we mow arm is designed to work specifically with if this than that and that's why you the way W bought this week and figured now we picture a world where if this and I disappears so essentially now your purchase of hardware is no longer capable of doing what you had originally intended to do that it may well also be able to be connected up to another home automation system but maybe it can't be automated the same way wanted to be so maybe that thing has now become useless to you because it's tied to an Internet service Havana service goes away so I guess the problem I've got is that this is gonna start happening more and more and I thought about well what about other services things that people just take for granted so I go it's always gonna be there well he some of the things I have a think about what about radio and television because when you think about it I realise it's not the Internet technically however if you've got a radio station or television station they have a transmitter product on on a hill somewhere with the antennas pumping out kilowatts of of radio waves our TV sets pick them up and saw our FM radios I am radio is potentially and we listen to them while some people still do so if let's say one of the radio stations would go out of business now would happen sometimes does that mean that your radio is now useless or no because there's dozens of other stations out there presumably in most cases a thing is true and why and is it difficult for someone else to come in there will no because if you've got all the hardware or hardware is available off the shelf is that a frequency by licensed you start broadcasting you're getting your revenue from advertisers mostly in sponsors of the of the radio station therefore you know so long as you have people listening and you can have evidence that people are listening then you have revenue so these radios are generic devices are listening to anything you like depend on who put it out there and your source of revenue that you've got your business model is completely different if you compare and contrast that with something you are like peak where you've got a hardware device and I say the FM radio that you gone by day I can now do cool stuff and listen to the radio and then the radio station really like is our business your radio is not useless because the next one will then pop up and electro social pop up and you can listen to them the question is did anyone care about taking over peaks stuff and running a server and supporting the stuff although they didn't because it was proprietary for one thing the more the point what's the revenue stream was revenue coming from because I sold their hardware that model was completely different so the problem I've got is well thing about it is radio and television are completely different because there add that their model is based on ongoing revenue that is unsupported it's the ongoing revenue that is the point and the fact that the devices are generic only anything that is that proprietary it's it's been around for so long as the store there may be different brands and so on but the rules for broadcasting radio are well understood and the equipment as well is is what is widely available it's not rocket science and is not a problem rate so what kills this is the idea of of the business model and it would be okay I think I'd be less concerned limit for this will be less concerned about Internet connected devices if there was an ongoing business model where they would get revenue to sustain their existence even if it's enough to pay for one person to maintain one server if that's all it took obviously victim of your own success if you need have 100 servers of 200 servers 2000 servers and any more than one person and into my new servers every five years you make sure you have your income is going to be that the companies are revenue is gonna be a cover that in the only way I can think to do that is through subscription subscription-based model in inner unless of course your product is capable of delivering advertising not traded on thermostat in the Sikorsky names Google maps of the gonna do it see what how will the temperature is wireless you watch this video add 4/10 elements are by BMW is only got I FTD and in our negative distributor advertisements of spirit whenever they do need to monetise it would have to be a supermodel in there when I do because I want ours getting a have 21 recipes there and running right now is already in 2109 and none of those are raspberries that would work well without our Soviet supporters out the question that the burning question is would someone pay a subscription to accompany for that flexibility and I'm willing to bet the majority of people would say no yet you have our executives it's hard sell it to wholesalers it's a glancing geeky thing and as soon as they did that you have 20 projects on get hub trying to recreate it bigger run server probably an idea new look of the greatest a metabolic rate in this is that this is the issue that I've got is that everyone is saying and I say everyone Not everyone but there are people that have sent and this is related to CSR I don't specifically call out an article that was written by armband the Jaron on 10 January called the last days of the Internet of everything and if you've read this particular article it was with relation to CES out of a hat you it is excitable to read it as a it's a really is a good article it's our it's a bit thought-provoking and is I mostly agree with it that the warmer quote out of it is a specific car census readouts here in just a few years time if something is developed and shown at CES that does not connect to the Internet or another electronic device we will do mess and instant failure and the expectation therefore is that it is inevitable that we we are if we have not already crossed the threshold we are imminently going to cross the threshold whereby anything you present at CES that is not Internet connected in some fashion is going to be essentially written often as useless irrespective of whether or not it is I think that in the context of CES I agree with that beyond that I'm not so sure because obviously you consumer electronics go up until not that long until the next family people saw thermostat as being consumer electronics right so sort of things change yellow 20 years ago before home automation doing a single light switch as consumer electronics no I don't think so it was just electrical so the lines things merge markets that were clear become less clear and is as it evolves the temptation to add more of this this whole idea of these elders make it better somehow we just do we do this remotely we do that remotely doesn't matter if you actually if at any value to you or not doesn't matter if that's any good Buddhist road in there because hey would be cool if and the problem with that idea is the expectation that when I buy something that will continue to work and all those features will be available if there is anything that the Internet has taught us in the last decade is that online services don't last forever so it all sounds so good in the ad copy in a sound so good at CES it sounds even the first few years where everything is all nice and good beginning good sales and then relight people start to realise well is really not that much benefit to this then what they do declining hardware sales they don't have the revenue to continue to support the software services the software piece dies and then the product dies release the reason most aborted dice and you end up with an expensive thermostat or an expensive lightswitch well if we look at something like conductor though if this than that arm and wasn't thinking about things like gum bra barks out that night to a certain degree a lot of these are you could be in old members this term is currently getting infrastructure as a service rate allow these things are our products greatly in the Steve jobs sense but they are useful arm the infrastructure running that there there utilities that maybe you could finance their arbitration through contracts with nut with individual consumers but with with the companies themselves and maybe there is a maybe there is some are and making point them at your maybe there is a service that would be the substrate for any number of via connected thermostat such as Nast not just in not just a particular brown but is something that would enable our some general functionality maybe in the case of providing providing the use of a component so you could know where it was at so you could you could rename it you do you think the zeros and you think that something that is a potential future that will see people start to fill that role because it's a problem in minutes and is now can go away without some sort of bar reaction not so much that I've seen in beyond enthusiast level like you said it will make a get clone over and I'll try and set up a server here and therein try and keep a little bit of a community of the enthusiasts going but on a mass-market scale I'm not aware of it actually really happening and being sustained success are in I can give you an example of a hardware-based situation there is a minimum in automation for example the one of the brands that I have dealt with this are Texas Instruments and TI sold their plc division many many years ago Siemens however they also had licensing for our company to make modules specifically to fit their plc chassis in this company took over support agreements by by creating all new cars based on current technology that fit in the old form factor is the program by the same software and they did a decent price and they essentially took over the support role for a lot of the old TI stuff from hardware and firmware point of view as well as the new cars that they brought on board and I guess the that is a rarity most of the time bigger companies gobble up the little ones and then after a few years they they spit out what they don't want to keep whatever is not making money I'm not saying that's what's gonna happen with the nest necessarily but I think this cause for concern I think that in the ends where where I see the the pragmatic component of this is people need to go into this with their eyes open a product that lasts its hardware blasters this software never fails right technically if if if you've got buggy software that is one thing but software doesn't deteriorate in time capacitors do resistors do you know anything that moves especially does bearing snobs button switches all those things they all wear out age is not does not do them are any favours however if in a key component of the devices you buy is controlled by 1/3 party that you have no control over and they cease to exist your product could become either crippled or completely useless depending upon how integrated our reliance it is on the web and what I think people need to do is when you do buy a device that is interconnected and has a bunch of functionality that you want to get out of that Internet connection just go in with your eyes open it so easy with smart phones because smart phones have got you to 3 year shelflife being and how you depend on how nice your kind you are to them but most people don't have the same cell phone for 10 years that is don't some people do but there are very small in number so you don't have that you have an expectation when you buy if the software ceases to be updated and it is no longer supported all the apps you want to get now offer I was there I what you've got a 3GS let's say you can't get half the apps anymore while you know what your phone is now 34 years old whatever is an expectation you need to upgrade you can't tell someone about lightswitch my lightswitch is five years old you must need a new one I mean whites was to readjust him aside from any degradation in the mechanical mechanicals it's still doesn't anybody to do with extra million disaster leader but it doesn't degrade that's true and I guess that's a bad analogy I guess perhaps the point of what I'm saying is you go in with your eyes open and realise if you buy something today that is based on that requires Internet services to some extent that you're going to rely on you have to go in with the expectation that someday those those services will not be there and ask yourself whether or not the device is still useful to you when they gone and that's the way I think people should look at Monica think about what you're really buying is like and say you really are three just doesn't degrade by if you know you're gonna be pushing forward in and you know what kind of user you are then in your bed that the Java you want this non-delivery was no chance and get you not you know it really is degrading rate is not doing that doing what you want you requires you to admit that what you want is to move forward but is not a switch that is easy and I don't in a controlled switch I guess the point also is that if a company has an ongoing subscription model to access the Internet services that would give me a much better and I decide warm fuzzy feeling because at least then there is some possibility that they can have a sustainable business model may such that you will continue to be able to use their service in years to come because it's still no guarantee there won't be mismanagement yellow though the managing director or CEO may know blow all the money at a casino in Vegas for all you know but some and you can't account for the effort for the me there is war if things go insane with diverted if there is either no sub-prime mortgage crisis you don't know what's gonna happen but the funny thing is the guy the ball the thermostat that wasn't in that connected my kit they won't care because neither will affect them so I think it's something to be wary of going with your eyes open having things area connected sounds like such a great idea I could do this cool stuff with it do you really need to do that well maybe but going with your eyes open and realise that in 5 to 10 years time you might be holding summing that's a paperweight wrap it up wrap it up you want on my mother's confined yarn on Twitter at giant Fiji at DoH and CATI DG EY seem an update that introductory can translate that distortion do come once an email and send it to giant adapters and outcome and that Alexander can reach me on Twitter at Felix Southam and you should follow out pragmatic show on Twitter to seashore announcements and other related materials for an be posting the time for all the time and location for our fascia next week and am pleased to get in touch if you want either that or are losing feedback on the new very keen for anyone's comments on it so please let us know love to our senior´┐Ż
Duration 52 minutes and 54 seconds Direct Download

Show Notes

Related Links:

Premium supporters have access to ad-free, early released episodes with a full back-catalogues of previous episodes


Ben Alexander

Ben Alexander

Ben created and runs and Fiat Lux

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.