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The most interesting thing about the Internet of things, is that no one seems to know exactly what it is. We just know that in some vague way, it’s what’s next. But what do we really have when we go beyond the buzzwords and memes? 

Putting the Internet in the Internet of Things
When it comes to IoT, it’s the T (things) that always gets top billing. But before we consider the gadgets, we need to reflect on the Internet portion of the equation. That is the engine that powers the dream. 
We don’t just need the Internet. We need ubiquitous, advanced Broadband as defined by the FCC earlier this year. According to an FCC broadband report, 55 million Americans lack access to advanced broadband. That number is much worse when considering rural residents. They go on to say:
The divide is still greater on Tribal lands and in U.S. territories, where nearly 2/3 of residents lack access to today’s speeds. And 35 percent of schools across the nation still lack access to fiber networks capable of delivering the advanced broadband required to support today’s digital-learning tools.
While a place like San Antonio has a high representation of both urban and rural residents, there is also a lot of fiber in San Antoniocapable of delivering advanced broadband for TV, Internet, and of course, ‘things’. As companies expand their fiber offerings and networks to more locations, prices become even more competitive, allowing even more people the ability to get in on the action. 
We still have a long ways to go before broadband Internet is ubiquitous to power every toaster in America. But we have come a long ways. And we can do a lot more than alert users when their toast is at the perfect brownness.
The Apple Watch Might Be the IoT Front End We Have Been Waiting For
The other thing we need for the Internet of things to really take off is a mass-market front end device with a compelling user interface. Whether it is coffee makers or air quality sensors, there has to be a way to control them. That control mechanism has to have a design language that invites, rather than frustrates potential users. 
If every maker of things kludges up their own, unique UI/UX, that will be asking too much of the user to learn. That is why there are so many competing standards for home automation. What the Apple watch brings to the table is a hardware module that, when paired with Apple’s HomeKit initiative, can serve as the one device that will rule them all. 
It has that potential because, though early days, it appears to be the one such devices going mass-market momentum. Only time will tell if the Apple Watch will truly become the hub that makes the IoT a reality in our time.
Beyond Light Bulbs and Toasters
The final piece of the IoT puzzle yet to fall into place is the things, themselves. Right now, we do not have a compelling story for the IoT. We are still in search of the killer app: that thing which makes it obvious why we need the IoT in the first place. At the moment, it seems to be a proof of concept. The only compelling reason to do it is because we can. That is not enough for mass-market appeal.
We can control things like toasters and lightbulbs over wifi. So What? A more compelling use is wifi-connected security cameras and baby monitors. For my money, the wifi-enabled doorbell is one of the most compelling use cases. But none of it is particularly life changing. It is just stuff that controls other stuff from a distance. 
That said, once that use case becomes clear, it will be immediately compelling. That is why it is so important to prepare the other parts of the equation right now. If you don’t have broadband, now is the time to upgrade. For developers, now is the time to sort out what platform and control devices that will be supported. My not-too-radical prediction is that the true advent of the IoT and its killer app is just around the corner.

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