Stacey Higginbotham is the creator of the IoT Podcast and the “Stacey Knows Things” IoT newsletter. She is also a senior editor for Fortune and senior writer for Gigaom.

We interviewed Higginbotham on smart home developments in IoT—and what she views as IoT’s most significant problems.

Voice control platforms are great but divisive

Higginbotham details that the smart home is trending toward responsiveness rather than having to program interactions. She comments, “The initial promise was with Nest, how you wouldn’t have to program your thermostat. It would just know what you needed.”

She elaborates that part of creating a responsive home is providing voice control to consumers.

“Voice is your user interface, so what you should be looking at is the platform these guys are building around the voice platform. Right now I think Amazon is totally in the lead here, but Nest also has some ways that you can control things on your Amazon Echo. I don’t know who’s going to win (but) the platforms that win, probably 4 or 5, will have an open voice platform.”

But, these different IoT platforms make it difficult to create a connected IoT community. Higginbotham comments, “We have no open standards. Everything’s got its own hardware, its own silo…we’ve got to move past that for things to become real.”

Troubleshooting problems in IoT

Higginbotham also identified unreliability and high prices as problems in IoT.

She sees reliability as an issue: “Once a week I’m troubleshooting.” According to Higginbotham, the IoT product has to work just as well as the current unconnected product to spike consumer interest: “Bear minimum is, it’s going to work the way it used to work, and you get added functionality.”

Another problem is higher prices for IoT products compared to unconnected products. “(IoT products are) not a good sell for the consumer. No one wants to pay 6 times more to open an app and control their lights.”

Yet despite these problems, Higginbotham sees IoT’s future as bright. “The Internet of Things is such a beautiful concept. I would love everything to come together.”



Esmé Brachmann