There has recently been a MIT workshop on “Low-Latency Wireless Random-Access” which, from a report I’ve just seen, may have been focused on the wrong questions about the Internet of Things.

THE real big question raised by the Internet of Things is …

THE big question about the Internet of Things is... /img/big-question-iot.png

According to the report titled “Gearing up for the internet of things”, the general goal of the worskhop was “How to prepare global wireless networks for the IoT” because (emphasis mine):

The big question raised by the IoT is capacity: How can a telecommunications network with limited spectrum serve thousands or millions of devices at once? Existing networks cannot support the addition of exponentially more devices, nor the near-instantaneous connection speed necessary for machine-to-machine communication. The next-generation network, 5G, must be designed to meet these requirements.”

I feel every month more that “the big question raised by the IoT”, or at least the first that should receive decent answers before any other, is not capacity:

it’s PURPOSE.

How much of the stuff for which we should find mountains of money (with significant environmental impacts too) to build or upgrade wireless networks is useless to begin with, or in some cases even dangerous, especially if used as advertised? How much of the IoT being marketed these days has no real need to exist, no concrete positive impacts on real quality of life? Below please find some suggested reading, from me and others, to see what I mean. Think to that, before designing “next generation networks”, please.