A few years ago, I declared that the Internet of Things had reached a stupid level thanks to a smart toaster. In retrospect, it was clearly a mistake. Over the weekend, Nike launched its new Self-Lacing Adapt BB Sneakers, featuring self-lacing technology, built-in lights and an app to lace them up. Yes, you control your sneakers with the help of an application (an engine inside the shoes allows to mechanically tighten or loosen the laces). But in this case, the Android version of the application refuses to associate with the left shoe. The firmware update needed – because the shoes now require firmware updates – seems to have caused connectivity issues and prevented the Android version of the app from associating with one another. shoes. (Both left and right are involved, depending on the reviews you read.)
This post by Jaxbot on Twitter seems to capture remarkably the spirit of the moment (note that his answer is supposed to be sarcastic, I think, I hope.):
I do not get a lot of sympathy here pic.twitter.com/zEqagV3J5A
– Jonathan Warner??? (@Jaxbot) February 18, 2019
It's really hard to know what to say about it, because the problems should have been so obvious. There is a very old meme comparing the operation of cars if they were like computers, with a joke about acquiring three separate accessories to restart the vehicle. He was supposed to be pedagogic. Instead, we now find ourselves in a world in which shoes are plagued by firmware updates. Even more hilarious, this problem is limited to Android. IOS users do not report any issues of this type.
Under the snark – and let's face it, "Bricked shoes" sounds more like a mafia innovation than a technological breakthrough – there is a real problem here. Companies strive to advance IoT-compliant products with poor design and execrable software quality. These products often sell for premiums compared to their "stupid" counterparts, but often have staggering or breathtaking security issues.
It's easy to laugh at the crappy internet (the IoT has been dubbed in a memorable way), but the humor of the situation hides a more horrible reality: if it were a $ 350 device Apple or Google, we would talk about it in very different tones. The problem of payphones for which people pay a lot is a problem that will only get worse, until companies like Nike do not really know what they are doing in these situations. And mistakes are important. Security fails, functionality flaws and other miscellaneous issues reinforce the perception that IoT is a joke as much as a valid product category.