"With the emergence of cheap networking hardware, we can imagine using the web from devices other than the highly horizontal, multi-functional browsers on our desktop and mobile computers. When we could afford only a single computing device, it made sense to make highly flexible software capable of bringing us any experience the web could manage. Our web browser was a viewer for web content - any and all web content. It was left to the users to figure out how to partition out the different ways in which they used the web - the different hats they wore. Now, we can dedicate a device to a single task - and in doing so remove layer upon layer of complexity in the user experience. Instead of toolbars and menus and scrolling and clicks, typing or even speaking to request some part of the web, we can have a single button. Or maybe not even that - its just there as long as the power and network permit. We can give some piece of the web a tangible, physical space in our lives. It could be a screen on the office wall that displays my bug list. I don’t need to context-switch as I switch tabs, instead context changes naturally as I move from one room to another, and the information is in its proper place."
It’s great to see people within organisations such as Mozilla engaging so deeply with the issues and challenges around the Internet of Things. And then sharing their findings so cogently.
I’ll admit, when I’d initially heard from Sam what they were up to, I thought it was a bit of a vanity project, and one where we’d just get an organisation (ab)using its position and influence to just scratch the surface (vs. those of us who have been taking the same ethos for years but pushing it from a much less-well-funded position) of the issues while claiming to be at the forefront.
I was wrong. That’s not the case at all. If it results in more thought-through and humble yet insightful reports as these, then I’d love to see Mozilla run at other IoT product niches. I think the this-should-be-a-product attitude is an important part—it’s all too easy to gloss over the really difficult parts when you’re just kicking out a prototype or design study.
The Internet of Things will progress much further from people with genuine experience of building products sharing their approaches and finding the common aspects that require work and new standards than any number of platform plays.