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GeneralRe: The Internet of Things-are-going-horribly-wrong Pin
Rage3-Jun-19 20:56
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GeneralRe: The Internet of Things-are-going-horribly-wrong Pin
Dean Roddey4-Jun-19 8:21
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This is my area (www.charmedquark.com), and it's bad. The problem is that there is no ubiquitous home automation backbone. And, since all these companies are just looking to sell doo-dads, not systems, they only option they have is wireless (or maybe if you are lucky wired) local LAN. Some of them maybe even actually think that's a good thing, though they are wrong. But, even if they don't, there's no other option for most of them. So, they throw some LAN connectivity into it, and probably don't remotely give enough thought to security.

Throw in the extra, modern issue that a lot of these companies making small doo-dads are probably just interested in getting bought out and they know that that is a lot easier if they have keywords like 'cloud based' and 'data collection' in their sales pitches. That drives them straight to cloud based interfaces, where you have to go to their servers and back to talk to something you are standing right in front of.


'Traditional' automation products were generally serial connected. You'd see a lot of newbies screaming about how horrible and old fashioned that is, but it's a completely safe system of point to point, unshared connections between the controller and the controlled devices. USB is reasonable as well in that way.

That mostly only works for devices in the closet with the controller. Though, to be fairly, typically there would be a gateway type box in the closet and that would have wired connections to the various doodads. So none of these security issues existed, and all control was local.


If you buy into a system like Lutron's Radio RA2, you can get the core stuff (lights, thermos, motion sensors, button panels, drapes, and a few other things) all wireless but via proprietary wireless protocol that isn't accessible from the outside.

The generic option should be Zigbee. It's a good quality, local-only wireless protocol. But it's not caught hold in the home automation world in a significant way yet (though it's huge otherwise.) It's used underneath the hood, in a proprietary way, by some products (Hue, Control4 and some others.) But it could be the ubiquitous automation wireless backbone from the home.

Z-Wave is the VHS to Zigbee's Betamax. It's a low end, not terribly reliable scheme that should die but refuses to. It's never going to be something that lots of IoTs doodad makers are likely to support and that's a good thing.


But, anyway, everything is pushing the whole boat in the wrong direction. You can still do the right thing at the more professional level. But for the consumer, it's a mess of disconnected doo-dads that are just sitting there in the local LAN, making outbound connections to who knows where, downloading firmware from those same places to run locally with full access to your network. And few customers are remotely savvy enough to wall them off into a DMZ or some such.
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GeneralWSO CCC 2019-06-04 Pin
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