Why should I care about an “open” Internet of Things?

If you are concerned about retaining control over your personal environment but wish to take advantage of the advances in technology that can make your home more efficient, safer and easier to manage, then what the Open IoT Foundation is doing is important to you.

What is the Open IOT Foundation?

The Open IoT Foundation was organized to promote the simple principle that users should have control over the devices within their private Internet of Things. We propose a simple Consumer Bill of Rights to protect consumer interests in the Internet of Things.

What’s wrong with using the cloud to manage my Internet of Things?

This is a personal choice. Maybe you are comfortable with the idea that your drip irrigation system will cease to operate if you lose your Internet connection or that you are posting to the cloud that you are going on holiday when you set your thermostat back to vacation settings. If you are indifferent to these matters, the Open IoT Foundation may not be important to you but if you care, then an open, consumer-controlled Internet of Things offers you a choice.

Aren’t there times when an Internet connection to my personal IoT is a good thing?

Absolutely. You should be able to remotely and securely access your personal IoT to control your devices when you are away from home. Sometimes it’s good to be able to fetch external data from the web (perhaps current or forecasted weather conditions) to improve the performance of systems in your personal environment. All very good and all under your control. What is not good is promiscuous publication of every event in your personal Internet of Things to a server somewhere in the cloud.

My IoT thermostat supplier promises that my data is secure. Can I trust them?

Again, this is your choice. The stated intentions of your vendor may be honorable but the Internet is not 100% secure nor do corporate values remain unchanged. And do you really want to receive a stream of targeted advertisements on your mobile device or computer based on your activities in what you thought was your private space? Once you agree to publish your personal IoT data to the cloud, the resulting intrusion of targeted ads are inevitable and quite easy to implement by organizations that control your data.

Why are open protocols important?

Open protocols are what allow you to operate a Windows computer, an Android phone and an iPad on the same network. Open protocols are simply standards which is why you can buy lights bulbs from any manufacturer and be certain they can be screwed into the socket in your lamp. Network interoperability did not exist for computers 30 years ago and it was many years after the dawn of electrical lighting before a de facto bulb standard evolved. If you don’t want to get locked into a vendor-controlled Internet of Things that requires you to purchase your devices from a single vendor, open protocols are essential.

Are open protocols secure?

Yes. Open IoT protocols are based on established and secure open Wifi protocols. Your personal IoT is as secure as you make your Wifi network.