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WTF is the Internet of Things and how insurers will use it against you

The humbling sensation of having your stupidity monitored

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IoT as the insurers' don't-be-stoopid enforcer

It's not all roses. Consider the humble smoke detector. People are reinventing it, this time with extra internet.

While that could be great for me, how long do you think it will be before the cost of home insurance will depend on my purchasing, properly maintaining and configuring several of these devices to report back to the insurance company? In a single family home that's a minor annoyance to have to do. In a multi-unit dwelling there's a case to be made that their use be mandated by law.

What about other sensors? How warm do you keep your home? Based on your heating usage and the statistics on your house have you failed to invest in the proper insulation and eco-friendly upgrades? The value of a home could depend on such things; I know that for my next house purchase I'll be using a whole bunch of cheap sensors to determine the value of any house I fancy.

Wouldn't the bank that holds my mortgage or the company that insures it have a financial interest in real-time monitoring as well?

Go deeper. Did you leave the stove on and the leave the house? Did you use the wrong kind of toilet paper the last time you used the washroom, or flush grease, paint or other no-nos down the drain?

If your insurance company could prove these were the factors that led to related claims they would not have to cover it. Your utilities provider or local fire hall might have an interest in monitoring as well. In many cases, this sort of monitoring could be added to the utilities-owned infrastructure where it meets your house, thus not requiring your cooperation at all.

Today, internet of things technologies can be used to help prove qualification for fitness tax credits. It is not inconceivable that one day they might be required in order to qualify.

The merging of the physical and the virtual worlds offers the carrot of increased efficiency, safety, and gentle reminders for those things we've forgotten. The internet of things brings with it ethical issues with which legislators are already struggling.

It is also the future of IT. "Wearable computing" is far more likely to manifest as a subset of the internet of things than be "yet another general computing platform". Innovation in mobile computing is levelling off, so growth stagnation can't be too far behind.

The bulk of new IT jobs – the IT practised by our successors – will be managing, maintaining and developing the internet of things. So what do you want to monitor today?

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