For being “Smart”

these Things are

quite dumb...

Innovating in the Internet of Things Era.

Innovate in the Internet of Things Era
may be easier if we put the ideas in a context.


Dear Fellow Innovator,

based on the comments I received by you on my latest booklet "Innovating on the internet of things era", I have expanded it with a deeper chapter on Smart Things. 

Here it is, I hope to get your comments as usual, and if you want the new rev. 2 of the "Innovating on the internet of things era", just ask it on my website:


...For being "smart" this things are quite dumb...

What kind of functions are enabled by a Thing on Internet?

If our goal is to eliminate “level 1” brain activity, much of the functions a Thing on Internet deal with “productivity”.

Productivity is about achieving the same output with less resources. This can be done if we achieve:

· A better control

· A better management

· A better cooperation.Productivity is made of : cooperation | Control | Management

While the first two, control and management, are still in the realm of system integration, the second belongs more appropriately to the concept of externalization: Internet of Things.

These are typical action I can list as “control” functions:

· Searching: of entities, information,

· Locating: this is more about searching into a framework: a space grid, a temporal line, an referenced ambient.

· Targeting: adds a function of “selecting” to the first two.

· Monitoring: adds collecting data about the Target and its environment

· Tracking: adds memorizing those data

· Inspecting: adds benchmarking the data against a reference, checking conformity, tolerances, changes

· Diagnosing: adds putting the data into a context, transforming them into information

· Predicting: is about building future benchmarks based on past information, environment, network information

· Learning: is about building probable behaviors based on past behaviors found in the system.

These are those I can list as “management” functions:

· Preventing: putting place actions that assure the future control.

· Reacting: enforce emergency actions to bring back control or limit unwanted consequences. Move in order to take advantage of peculiar situations or occasional events.

· Managing: anything that has to do with achieving a performance within control parameters.

· Optimizing: adds “efficiency” to the notion of management.

· Simulating: adds immateriality to the notion of optimization: simulating, faking, pretending.

The last point: “simulating” brings us into the realm of externalization. Sometime faking an action could bring a counterpart act as per our will. Think e.g. to the home alarms turning on and of lights to simulate presence.

The final group of actions are about “cooperation”,

and imply the involvement of other independent players.

· Interfacing: think for example to google translator and its ability to make anyone cope with othe languages websites.

· Recommending: think for example to Amazon users recensions and their influence on Amazon users

· Matching: services that not only offer options but also pair them with the user. (Google Adwords, just to name one)

· Building options: it adds a degree of choice to matching: providing non-equal alternatives. (think to new routes built on the spot by navigators, or a choice between original and 3D printed temporary solutions)

· Negotiating: we already saw this with the house –utlity example.

· Coordinating: allowing the use of common resources like .eg. in a sharing economy business model (Uber, AirB&B, or in a cooperative business model (Wikipedia).

Unfortunately there are also unwanted features of the Internet of Things enabling functions: those that allows unwanted third parties take advantage of our new solutions:

· Sabotaging: taking control of the system to make it perform in an unwanted way, or to achieve different goals. ( I can take control of a remotely driven caterpillar just to open a bank vault)

· Spying: sucking privileged information

· Milking: transferring a fraction of the outcome benefits to a non authorized party

· Faking: someone can fake identity, ownership or obligations to take non due advantages

· Distorting: manipulating information to let you infer conclusions that are at the manipulator benefit.


This list is not comprehensive but is a tentative to offer a framework to think to “Smart Things” functionalities.

The final list about unwanted features of the Smart Things, is a further demonstration that a strategic layer of reasoning should be embedded into a Internet of Things business model.

Without this strategic layer, These smart things can be fouled, easely, and with them their user.


As mentioned, this freely thoughts are meant to offer different perspective on Business topics. Open an opportunity to discuss it and build on it.

I would be happy to receive suggestions and integrations.



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