For the second consecutive month, IOT conversations in the media and on social channels held steady on Big Valley’s Top Conversations in Tech list at No. 29. This remains a bit of a search-term anomaly. As we’ve said before, while the term IOT may not be as popular as it was one year ago, IOT stories still drive coverage. In fact, two out of the three biggest stories in November were decidedly IOT (even if the term wasn’t mentioned).
For the first time in our collective memories, a sitting president insisted (and still insists) that he lost a general election due to widespread fraud. This is the biggest story (other than COVID) of the entire century. And it’s got IOT written all over it. Well, figuratively speaking. One of the key tenets of President Trump’s argument is that the Dominion electronic voting machines used in several states were hacked. If true, the easiest way for a bad actor to do that would be to come in via the internet – if those machines were connected to the internet (aka IOT devices). Of course, that’s the irony. In a December press release, Dominion claimed the machines are not connected to the internet. You’ve heard of fake news? This is #fakeIOT. That said, there’s a real election IOT story we should see: how can we create an electronic, online voting system (actual IOT!) that Americans can trust? Once we do that, the reported record number of 160 million who voted in this year’s presidential election will be seen by historians as paltry, a reminder of an unsophisticated time. Despite the record turnout, a full third of eligible voters – 80 million people, nearly the same number that voted for President-Elect Joe Biden – still stayed home. What if there was a safe, secure and trusted way to vote from home? Maybe the better question – why isn’t there?
The second big IOT story – which also never mentions IOT – was a surprisingly light Black Friday. How do you think your purchases get to you on-time (hopefully) and safely? And if you’re really smart, how do you keep porch pirates from running off with your package? Every step of the e-commerce chain – from ordering, to the supply chain tech monitoring your delivery, to the connected camera you may use to scare off would-be thieves, is IOT.
But sometimes, in small ways, the term IOT (or the hashtag #iot) shows some power. Strathmore College, a Kenyan school with 5,000 students, drove a full 1% of Twitter traffic related to IOT in November, no small feat for a small university. How? It hosted an online event through its iLabAfrica program to demonstrate the best results of a Food Africa Accelerator, an effort to increase food security using technology and other cutting-edge approaches to agriculture. In part, it’s about smart farming – IOT! Now that’s a story worth our time.