With an estimated 30 Billion devices being predicted by the International Data Corporation (IDC), to be connected to the Internet by the year 2020, and an expected economic potential between 3-11 Trillion Dollars in the next 10 years, it is easy to understand why everyone in the Technology Industry are betting on the Internet of Things.
To succeed in an industry that promises to make life easier for everyone in an interconnected world, a company has to introduce innovative ideas and products that could revolutionize the way people do things.
The world, of course, is full of new, advanced and inventive ideas. Unfortunately, not all of them will become reality, while many of those that would may not last long enough to remain connected to the Internet of Things.
We review a number of IoT Ventures that didn’t quite make it:
Sigmo IoT Ventures
Had Sigmo made it into the real world, it would be the realization of a dream of a lot of international travelers. It is the kind of stuff that Star-Trek movies are made of. During its crowdfunding stage, Sigmo was highly touted as a device that can translate 25 different languages in real time –almost immediately after the words are spoken. Like a scene straight out of a Star-Trek episode where Captain Kirk of USS Enterprise can talk to unknown alien species from far away galaxies and be able to understand all of them (and be understood) using a Universal Translator.
Sigmo never went into production.
Goji IoT Ventures
Goji was going to be a smart door lock that opens the door for you automatically but keeps everyone else outside unless you, the home owner, instructs it to admit specific individuals inside your house. The access could be for just a number of days, or for as long as you want. It can tell you who is standing outside your door wanting to get in -no matter where you are in the world – whether you are inside the house or anywhere else. It was to have seamless connectivity and it was going to make your home really safe – if it was ever produced. But it was not, despite the fact that it received a crowd-sourced fund to the tune of 800K U.S. Dollars.
Nabaztag IoT Ventures
This is a robotic bunny that went thru the production line, actually came into being and made waves in the world of internet connected devices. It tells you the weather, gives you the news, read your emails and do a few more tasks that you ask it to do. Well, a number of owners were not able to make it to do that. Not everyone managed to tell the bunny to do anything because that ability did not work with most units sold.
It became very popular. It reached a point wherein the servers that supporting the product could not cope with the demand. It received a number of awards and honorable mentions. It stayed in the market for around ten years and introduced a number of enhancements.
In the end, the company that runs Nabaztag had to cease operation due to technical challenges and security issues. Among the problems that hounded the company included internet security; hackers could control the device and use the rabbit to spy on the owners.
The Petnet’s IoT Ventures failure
Someone has posited that the success of IoT is premised on the belief that everything is always working well, working quickly, seamlessly, with no downtimes at all. That can be achieved with back-ups and redundancies, etc. But the Petnet story is a good reality check.
Petnet is an IoT company. It derives its business from taking care of your pets. It can feed them at designated times of the day, even while you are away. In addition, it has a learning algorithm.
It can tell how much food your pet needs, how many times it needs feeding, and it can give the exact amount of food each time without intervention. It can tell which pet in the house it has to feed and it can take a picture of that pet and send it to you via the internet when you are away on vacation.
The device knows when the supply of feeds in its container is low and it will remind you when it’s time to order for additional supplies.
It can be a lot of help even when you simply don’t feel like getting up early in the morning to feed your furry friends.
Petnet made it to the real world, like Nabaztag, and became very popular. It was quick to restore back its services when it suffered interruption, but not quickly enough for the disruption to be ignored.
The incident raised concerns not just on Petnet’s reliability but on the Internet of Things as a whole, never mind the question on whether Petnet’s services can really be trusted – which began to emerge.
The Petnet experience was very alarming not just to pet lovers but to just about anyone who may actually be considering to use the Internet of Things because that’s the direction the world seems to be going.
Back in 2008, a guy posted on Twitter about an incident he was experiencing. He said they were, at that moment, stopped at the roadside because the car they were using had to finish downloading a software update! It was an expensive, luxury car.
That post received varied reactions. Some say it was the driver’s fault they had to stop on the roadside for that update, others say it was something necessary that had to be done right away, etc.
The thing, however, is that service interruptions, software updates, battery drain, viruses, malwares, hackers, online criminals, and a host of other things that beset the modern, connected and interdependent technologies are real and that they needed to be addressed seriously. Maybe when all the concerns are properly dealt with, the Internet of Things will come a little bit closer to ubiquity.