So, you heard about IoT. You got your Apple Watch and your Intel Edison and you're putting Doom on everything and your refrigerator is sending all kinds of emails. All you have left to do is check all the entries on your IoT shopping list and get your home fully automated, bring your life into the future. Before you worry about the technological singularity, though, you may want to consider something more immediately threatening: your rapidly emptying bank account.
According to Terence Eden's recent look at the price of Things, a truly automated home is a bigger economic undertaking than it might seem to be at first glance. First, he points to sensors for his windows:
After a traipse through my family home, I discover that I have 20 separate external doors and windows. I don't live in a mansion - but all my windows are split into two different sections.
So, if I want my windows to become part of "The Internet of Things" I'm going to be shelling out £600. That's quite a lot of money. And that's only for a passive system.
And, as Eden points out, that's just to let you know whether the window is open or not. It doesn't lock or unlock your window. It doesn't close or open your window. That's £600 - $980.30 USD according to my extensive research - just to keep you from worrying about your carpet when it starts raining. But it gets worse from there. Eden also looks at more branded scenarios, such as decking out your IoT house with some better lighting:
Suppose I want some smart lightbulbs? The highly desirable Philips Hue Personal Wireless Light Bulbs are FIFTY QUID EACH . . . If I were to deck my place out completely in Philips Hue bulbs, I wouldn't have much change left from £1,250.
And those are just a few of the items that the home of the future would likely include. Eden briefly looks at iBeacons and NFC tags, for example, and his conclusion is the same: IoT is expensive.
Certainly these prices will drop over time, and it's definitely not an all-or-nothing game when it comes to these devices, but either way, Eden presents an interesting look at a less-often-explored aspect of the Internet of Things. There are a lot of exciting things happening right now, but to what degree will we actually have access to them?