July 18, 2016
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that 2016 is the year that the Internet of Things (IoT) has supplanted LEDs as the sexy new buzzphrase in the lighting industry. Every one of the trade mags has dedicated plenty of digital ink to the subject this year, even though a fully accepted definition for IoT (or its sibling, the Industrial IoT aka IIoT) is still out there somewhere. Maybe it’s written one of those augmented-reality Pokémon that I’ve heard people are searching for.
Last month’s issue of Electrical Contractor magazine has a decent article by Craig DiLouie on IIoT (http://www.ecmag.com/section/lighting/industrial-revolution-lighting-iiot) that provides a good overview without getting too far into the weeds. Craig also published one of the letters he got in response on his Lightnow blog (http://www.lightnowblog.com/2016/07/lighting-and-the-internet-of-things-optimism-and-a-call-for-caution/) recently, and it’s also a very good read and brings up several concerns that are either getting ignored, swept under the rug, or simply not addressed in the marketing hype surrounding IIoT today.
A few choice excerpts from the letter:
“There are legal issues both for the “owners” of such lighting systems (which may put system owners in the middle of legal discovery cases related to customer movements within a facility); actual ownership of data, software or even the physical devices…”
“Most of our clients will never allow a product on site that is in control of a third party, that could capture data about anything at all regarding the Client/Owners’ operations.”
That last one is a big deal. Trading some level of privacy for convenience is easy to do at a personal level (browser cookies, Facebook, smartphone location tracking, cloud-based smart home systems, etc.) but doing so at a corporate or business level is something else.