Times where we will be surrounded by Internet Of Things are approaching very quickly. Major companies (such as Google for example) are already investing some time in new technologies, many companies are already making money with or through use of sensors communicating with each other and the host. All seems fine and we get to hear only success stories so far. But I am interested in what will happen if firmware (or software) controlling those sensors will have some bug? How will I prove to its owner that I didn’t – for example – use as much electricity as those sensors show? I am not even talking about deliberate action of the sort we hear about lately in terms of cheating when testing car emissions. I am more about accidental errors, which will happen – there is no doubt about that. Software today is so complicated that it is almost impossible to give 100% warranty that it is error free. When I look at the quality of today’s customer support (based on my experience with such companies as Garmin or Apple and others) I am worried that soon I will have to prove to some big company that their stuff is plainly wrong… I don’t want to imagine that fight. We all have to use some level of trust, after all, we do it now with old fashioned metering we have at our houses. But even if we will still use them and allow for wireless transfer of their readouts, how safe that network is going to be? Will it be possible to break into it and alter the readings, adding more to it or removing from it?
I am sure of one thing – we cannot stop the technology from moving forward and sooner or later, what now is still in its baby phase will be our every day reality. The question is, how ready we are to accept hiccups on the side of providers, how vigilant we are going to be in controlling them in order to make sure that they really do all they can to be accurate and safe. It all depends on us, consumers. If majority of users are now used to errors in software thanks to Windows and other applications which not function as they supposed to (my bank took more than a year to sort out their web services), this attitude will continue to grow. Maybe even allowing for various companies to exploit it in terms of lackluster approach to fixing bugs and issuing updates, not talking about giving you your money back. I also understand Steve Jobs better now in his fanatic drive to control his software – he wanted to make sure that Apple products work as error free as possible. He had some success in that. I just wish that more people responsible for stuff we use every day had similar attitude.
Update on the 24th of January: this is what I found while browsing: