IoT wall of shame?
March 12, 2018 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Is there a website where you can see how long IoT companies have supported their products?
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In general, each company's web site will probably have indicators of how long it's been around, or manufacturing a particular product. A company usually supports its own product from the time that product is launched, and then sunsets that support at some point after the product is no longer being manufactured. So if there's a particular kind of smart glasses or whatever, you could look at their own website and/or look at archived press releases to figure out when it was released.

Does this answer your question? If not, more specifics would help.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:19 AM on March 12

Thingful is a directory of connected objects - might be worth investigating their database?
posted by teststrip at 10:35 AM on March 12

For general trends, today's XKCD is pertinent.
posted by zamboni at 10:48 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]

Our Incredible Journey is a Tumblr that records acqui-hires, when startups get bought and shut their products down.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:01 PM on March 12

chesty_a_arthur: not really, I'm not looking for a specific product, category or company.

zamboni: that's what got me thinking whether there was a general directory of dead Iot products.
posted by signal at 12:11 PM on March 12

There isn't such a directory, in part because there are so many devices, and the term "IoT" is very vague. You can go back many years to find devices from the late '90's, such as TiVo Gen 1's, Axis NetEye 200 cameras, Bay Networks 350T switches, APC UPS network management cards, etc., that have known security vulnerabilties. Some people might argue that device "X" isn't an IoT device, but if it can have new code downloaded to it, or someone can cause unauthorized code to run on it, you have something that is the same class of Problem. Many of these devices have limited RAM and limited flash, so at a certain point, as operating systems continue to bloat, you eventually run out of space to update, even if they're running something more easily supported, like Linux. As time went on, more and more devices became flash-update-able, but vendors typically provided just enough memory and flash to run, so we gained tons of crappy home NAT gateways and wifi access points (people call these "routers"), and all sorts of other network appliances including cable and DSL modems, etc. DVD players eventually became network-connected, because DVD players were always tiny little computers. As TV's evolved, souped-up CPU's were added to some and we gained "smart TV's".

Almost all of these devices share a common problem: the vendors can't charge enough for the devices to outfit them with appropriate quantities of CPU, RAM, and flash, and even if they could, no one wants to pay a subscription (or pay up-front) to keep their device firmware up to date for the expected lifetime that these devices could have. A TV might be fine for ten or twenty years. A thermostat, maybe even thirty.

We're probably nearly a quarter of a century into the Internet-of-embedded-hackable-devices era, and manufacturers started failing nearly right away. Even server-grade appliances suffered, look at the Whistle InterJet or Cobalt RaQ.

The closest thing I've seen to lists are lists within specific classifications. For example, the OpenWRT and DD-WRT projects have large lists of wireless router devices that are now obsolete.
posted by jgreco at 1:21 PM on March 12

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