Connected not smart

I feel for the heatwave and fire danger in Australia, I really do.
This El Nino is going to be huge.
(By all accounts were are going to get really wet over here from January. We could be looking at major landslide and flood damage as a result).
The loss of life and property to this years fire season has already started and is really sad and scary.

This story of one property and it’s survival of a fire has been picked up over here.

Deadly bushfires have swept across South Australia this week, destroying countless properties and natural spaces. One ingenious professor was able to save his rural home, however, by remotely activating sprinklers using a smartphone.

Perhaps I should have found a less sensitive example (there are / would be lots of them, but none so current) of the point I am about to make, please do not mistake my rant for anything other than making a tech point of how many companies have missed the point……. I am super glad that the guy and his property were not damaged.

This guy has a phone full of apps. He has an app for this, an app for that, he has all these smart devices with their own apps, but none of them are connected.
The analogy used on the web is a basket full of remote controls. We all have heard about universal remote controls, and we may have tried a few, but for the most part, we end up back at the basket full of remotes to do the job. Each remote controls the thing it was built for.
Any of us that have a smart phone or a tablet knows the drill. We have a bunch of apps to do each thing.

The (mostly home) automation world is the same.
We have all these smart devices, each with their own app, but none of them are connected.
On top of that, just about all of them require a connection to the Internet to function…. They have a cloud service that the device must connect to before it will follow the commands from your phone, which is also connected to the Internet.
(The reason for this is another blog topic, but for the most part it is for greed. The company wants to lock you to their service so they can ensure you will never go anywhere else for that function, and so that they can make money off you and force you to stay with them for as long as they can).

Maddocks started tracking the flames from over 3,000 kilometers away using CFS maps on his phone before connecting to CCTV cameras at his house.

How his Internet connection to his property did not go down is beyond me.

“All of a sudden everything went dark, then there was a red fireball…everything just turned in a split second,” he told ABC News. The flames took his crops within minutes, before turning their attention to the farmhouse. Maddocks felt “helpless” but cleverly turned on the sprinklers, keeping the danger at bay.

Right here is my point.
If his network had gone down, would he have been able to turn on the sprinklers?
They were smart sprinklers, he used their app to turn them on, but they had two weak points.
1. They required the Internet to be activated.
2. They were not connected to anything. They were not aware of any other sensor or data stream.

This is the fundamental flaw in the Internet of Things at the moment.
Companies are making all these smart devices, but very few people are making connected devices.
We have a phone full of apps that are in total isolation from each other.

I’m glad the guys network did not go down.
I am glad that he happen to be looking at his phone at the time it happen.
I am glad that his phone happen to have network connectivity when it happen.
But it would have been a better story and would have benefited far more people if the sprinkler system had been connected to other sensors inside his network and had automatically activated.

A single thing with an app is dumb.
Two connected things are smart.
We need connected, not smart things.