Connectivity vs. Independence
The ‘Internet of Things’ aims for mass interconnection to enable data transmission and control across a wide range of devices and systems. Domestic appliances and ‘smart metering’ are examples in the household case, encouraged for the benefits on offer to the consumer.
But is connectivity such a good thing: what with personal data harvesting, and the subversive side of social media plain to see, when it comes to IoT is the ‘sell’ really that advantageous to the end user? In the smart metering example, results indicate power savings of 2-3% may be achieved, which looks a bit thin against the meter installation cost, and tariffs that can rise by 10% a year.
The wider the IoT spreads the more vulnerable systems can be to cyber-attack, with major downsides for grid based utility services. Security measures are constantly refined, but what happens when the bad guys are one step ahead. There’s also the CO2 impact, with that from data centre power use reckoned to be on a par with commercial aviation, and rising.
Perhaps greater peace of mind, and reliability, comes with an entirely independent utility system, on-site and not connected to anything but the property it serves. As for ‘smart metering’, the daily fuel consumption tells the user all they need to know. The IUS is also resilient against natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding that all too often disable, if not destroy network services.