back to article ‘You can’t opt out of IoT’: Our future is the Rise of the Sensor Machines

“The majority of SMEs are bamboozled by the Internet of Things and how it will support their business,” Mike van Bunnens, MD of comms tech firm Comms365 told The Register today. Predicting a future where “everything” is an IoT device that “binds us together”, van Bunnens - flanked by colleagues Shaun Nicholls and Nick Sacke - …

  1. Doc Ock

    They won't support your business, due to lack of patches it will leave your business wide open to every script kiddie on the planet.

    Good old Scottie was right, the more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I can and I will resist this. I'll be like cyberpunk Armish, with a ragtag network of old hardware, and hand soldered boards.

    We'll live in small neon-lit communities along with others who've been unplugged from the IoT.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Resist

      "We'll live in small neon-lit communities along with others who've been unplugged from the IoT."

      They'll just slip them into the neon lights and so on while you're not looking. Or they'll turn the mains lines into a network or set up a long-range WiFi network.

      I think the point they're trying to make is that while you are MOSTLY in control of your own home, you're NOT in control of the things outside your bounds yet are able to creep in via windows, mains wires, and so on.

  3. Joe Werner

    The last points...

    ...of the article are a bleak outlook, indeed. Basically he says that IoT exists only for the good of the Megacorps. Thanks, I'll skip the cyberware implants and not gain the corruption points - and to think that I once thought I'd make a good Dekker.

    "Traitor to humanity, feel my wrath!"

    1. Blank-Reg

      Re: The last points...

      Don't worry, Dynalar have your details and will be paying a "visit" later...

    2. Naselus

      Re: The last points...

      Indeed, I'm left wondering if this guy understood that, in Terminator, the machines are supposed to be the bad guys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The last points...

        He does. He also knows, last I checked, they were supposed to have WON since machines tend to be pretty easy to replace compared to a meatbag.

  4. NanoMeter

    The dystopic future we've seen in Cyberpunk movies

    We're getting there. Sooner or later.

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      Re: The dystopic future we've seen in Cyberpunk movies

      "“People are interested in footfall, demographics, and even in automotives,” said Sacke, “looking at advanced telematics and driver behaviour.”"

      No. Advertisers are. The web seems nothing but a license to grab as much information about marks as much as possible. (Ironically...Five eyes..)

      When people talk about the lack of innovation on the internet, this is because the internet has been subverted by nothing more than commerce. Mostly commerce relating to advertising. Google is the living proof of that.

      Carlin was right when he did this...

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: The dystopic future we've seen in Cyberpunk movies

      Those one way trips to Mars are starting to sound a lot more appealing.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: The dystopic future we've seen in Cyberpunk movies

      Psst, we're already there.

  5. Roger Kynaston

    I for one

    Welcome my botnet IoT overlords.

    Sounds like complete bollocks to me.

  6. Smooth Newt

    Even the "positive impact" example is rubbish

    The capability already exists for IoT tech to have a direct, and positive, impact on our lives, said Nicholls: “Imagine you’re working in an office. The environment senses you’re feeling a bit drowsy; the light changes, the temperature in the office changes around your position, then it lets you work harder and faster.”

    I am struggling to understand how silently manipulating me into making more money for my employer constitutes a "positive impact" on our lives. Can I opt out of the invasive monitoring that determines that I am "a bit drowsy" - is it heart rate, skin temperature, or the speed I am typing?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Even the "positive impact" example is rubbish

      Will the environment also understand that you're probably feeling drowsy because you've already been working too hard and too fast for too long?

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: Even the "positive impact" example is rubbish

        I've yet to work in any office where the temperature could be changed on a level anything more granular than a whole floor at a time. So the idea that me and my insulating layer of blubber could have our own little cool spot while the "too fashion conscious to wear a cardigan" woman next to me can have her own private oven is ludicrous.

    2. Naselus

      Re: Even the "positive impact" example is rubbish

      I've always suspected this is how people who's 'job' is entirely based on emailing and glad-handing think. Anyone who has a proper job - one that involves care, skill and talent to produce or maintain things themselves - doesn't particularly like the idea of something that lets them work 'harder and faster'. Anyone who's job mostly involves telling people with a proper job what to do all day while adding extra 00s to the end of their own paycheck loves the idea of being able to do so 50% faster.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tiger Balm

      The answer to skin temperature monitoring?

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Even the "positive impact" example is rubbish

      "The environment senses you’re feeling a bit drowsy"

      and ups the rate/dosage on the caffeine injector pump.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    When Nothing Is as Everything Seems, Is Sublime Intranet Networking a Perfect Vice?*

    “We have solutions that can demonstrate operational efficiency, cost savings and even revenue generation,” Sacke dutifully chipped in.

    “I see IoT as a term that people use because it’s new and they want to latch onto a description of something that’s already happening,” van Bunnens said, boldly predicting that “within three to five years the term Internet of Things won’t be used.” Sacke added: “The IoT is a bit of a misnomer… we’re really about private networks.”

    Is it obvious that we are in alien agreement, for is not ........

    Setting up/Realising Dark Art Plays for status quo systems administrations is one novel and quite original way of practically generating an absolute fortune, trick5t3r, and virtual fortunes. ..... A Perfect Storm ....... with TEMPEST Activity
    .... essentially the same and/or completely different?

    Hmmm? I wonder who/what is leading way out ahead at front for those lagging and servering the rear?

    Amen to that and Hallelujah/Allahu Akbar :-)

  8. Stevie Silver badge


    "Lets you work harder".

    And there you have it. Industrial IoT: the answer to paid coffee breaks.

  9. Esme

    I think I'll be buying

    some old-school can-openers, tin snips, wire-cutters, and a bale of chicken-wire. The resistance starts here...

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: I think I'll be buying

      But wait, inspiration strikes...

      The manual doesn't say anything about microwaving it. And I just checked, the microwave's manual doesn't specifically say I couldn't, either.

      Yeah! I think I have fou9aSK^F#&#&#>...##....NO CARRIER

      from my sigmonster

  10. Stoneshop Silver badge

    a mechanised Arnie hunting down various unlucky humans

    Let him go ahead, and let him start with the twonks who think up this crap, then those that think they can make money off the things the first group thought up.

  11. ma1010 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Resistance is right!

    Snip those antennas off or do a bit of creative wire cutting/soldering. Probably the next big thing on the Internet will be "How to Disable IOT in your [insert item here]." Who, besides $Megacorp (or MegaGovernment) would want anything like this?

    Just because we can do something, doesn't me we should. I mean, we COULD start a nuclear war, but let's not.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Resistance is right!


      Snip those antennas off or do a bit of creative wire cutting/soldering. Probably the next big thing on the Internet will be "How to Disable IOT in your [insert item here]." Who, besides $Megacorp (or MegaGovernment) would want anything like this?

      Try and it will be illegal as $Megacorp owns MegaGovernment and they will send the machines round to terminate your arse....


      <<busy stockpiling phased plamsa rifles in the 40 mega watt range

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Resistance is right!

        They'll probably also set up the machines so killing the antennas kills the device AND voids the warranty. Add in a mandate for the antennas and a requirement to junk all unwired appliances on trade in, and it's quite possible.

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: Resistance is right!

          "They'll probably also set up the machines so killing the antennas kills the device AND voids the warranty"

          Nah, they'll just copy the software on the cloud model.

          If it can't phone home regularly, it'll refuse to function.

          Imagine this message on every item in your home:

          "Signal unavailable - please check your internet connection and try again. Your <device> will not function without a proper internet connection. Signal unavailable - please check your internet connection and try again. Your <device> will not function without a proper internet connection. Signal unavailable - please check your internet connection and try again. Your <device> will not function without a proper internet connection."

          That's what the IOT's boot stomping a human face looks like.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Resistance is right!

            Thought about it, but also considered the possibility of someone hacking the firmware. A hardware-based killswitch will be harder to work around, especially one rigged to fail deadly.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Resistance is right!

          As already mentioned, the 'microwave on high' method is probably the easiest. and you'll get a light show to go with it.

          (hey it works for destroying DVDs, as an equivalent to shredding, and makes a cool-looking pattern)

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Resistance is right!

            But what good is killing the antenna if it kills the device as well, meaning you'll have to go get another one out of pocket (because you voided the warranty) and because of corporate manipulation, EVERY replacement device is similarly wired with no used options available (by rendering the older ones not fit for purpose by law)? When all roads lead to Big Brother and the way back just got closed off, what options do you have?

  12. nematoad Silver badge

    Don't worry, be happy.

    Reading all the comment s above all I have to say is:

    Remember who it is that is talking.

    I too will be resisting this as much as I can but really do not think it worth worrying about. This is just special pleading by a bunch of characters with a vested interest in seeing that what it is they are going on about comes true, to their benefit.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "You can't opt out of IoT..."

    Says the people flogging you IoT kit/services.

    Say it all, really.

  14. Sir Loin Of Beef

    I don't need ANY of this shit.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      I see you're a man with ideals. I guess I better be going while you've still got them. - Mae West

  15. Frank N. Stein

    Something to sell?

    People with something to sell can build a mountain of reasons for why consumers should buy their products. Doesn't mean those products are needed. Just means they want you to desire them enough to buy them in large quantities and make them rich.

  16. Swarthy Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Full marks to the editor for that subhead. It made me want to laugh and hang my head in grief at the same time.

  17. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    "driving an IoT-capable car"

    Thanks, but I'd rather stick with a car that I can be reasonably sure will get from point A to point B, and not be stopped/hijacked/tracked by outside parties. Heck, if I can get that, I will even settle for one that is restricted by Henry Ford's old wisecrack about the Model T--"You can get one in any color you want, as long as its black."

    Archaic, true, but I can always buy a data plan and have kids/passengers play with tablets or something during long drives--without routing that data transfer through the car's systems, where it creates untold options for electronic mischief.

    (El Reg--can we get a Luddite or old fogey icon?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "driving an IoT-capable car"

      Old fogey tagged "Get off my lawn," methinks.

  18. earl grey Silver badge

    wind up watch and no phone

    plus the usual disguise...

  19. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Creature comforts

    All this tracking, monitoring, ordering automatically, and what-not and I will bet my stove and microwave clocks will still flash "12:00" every time the friggen power goes out.

  20. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Just searched it for mention of security & found nothing. So didn't bother reading it. Anybody who wants to start pushing IoT stuff must address security if they're to be taken seriously.

  21. John Pombrio

    I was at another town's library here in the US and went to check out my books. No one was at the checkout desk.

    There was a monitor screen and integrated underneath a platform with a bar code light shining down. To check out, all I had to do was to scan my library card and place the books and magazines I wanted to check out on the platform. Blip went the books and mags onto the screen and a receipt printed out and fell on top of my books. My first OMG use of the IoT. There also goes several unnecessary librarian jobs.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      And without the librarians to shield you ( they put up quite a fuss about various nosey Patriot Act provisions in the U.S.) your library checkout records just went straight to the NSA/Dept of Homeland Security/local police department.

      Lets hope you didn't check out anything about encryption, countersurveillance, chemistry of explosives, government reform, combating oligarchy or the basic tenets of Islam. However, if you did, can the rest of us have your stuff once you are disappeared?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Given that your average library is OPERATED by a local government, I'd say you're already screwed (even if the librarians object, City Council can probably go around them). And most of the private-run libraries are run by educational institutions who also have Big Brother connections.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is true, of course, that the introduction of new technology often largely ignores safety and security and measures are only invented after-ward. Mandatory RCD switches,mandatory coatings and earthings around plugs and sockets etc.

    But why should new devices not learn a bit from releasing new medicins onto the market? Compared to the cost of testing medication the cost of tials and tests should be limited.

  23. Chairo

    “Imagine you’re working in an office. The environment senses you’re feeling a bit drowsy"

    What is the more likely case? Will it just change the lighting and be done with it, or will it carefully log your low drowsiness and inform your boss about your performance issues?

    My money is on the latter. Bosses always need ammunition for the yearly performance interview, as they have to keep an average level of performance ratings in their group. Such a list would be pure gold in that aspect.

  24. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    I hate mission creep

    Having had several die on me over the years, the idea of a heating pump that monitors ITS OWN performance and sends me a text message or e-mail if it's feeling poorly is very tempting. But the key features are that it does all the checking internally, not downloading data in real time to GCHQ, and that it has very hard-wired connectivity limitations, i.e. outgoing SMS or e-mail only. Perhaps it could tighten up further by only sending a message to a local receiver in the house that displays them on a status screen, so no need for any outside connections at all. How about an IntRAnet of Things?

    Hmmmm....maybe I see a major business opportunity here. NB the above is all MY idea, and I'll be lodging patents shortly.

  25. Elmer Phud

    Terminator? nah.

    " Pre-emptively bowing the knee to our future robot overlords, Sacke said: “I hesitate to use the film analogy but it’ll be like Terminator: Rise of the Machines.” "

    Toner more like it:

    " "See, there's mites around all the time. They use sparkles to talk to each other," Harv explained. "They're in the food and water, everywhere. And there's rules that these mites are supposed to follow. They're supposed to break down into safe pieces... But there are people who break those rules [so the] Protocol Enforcement guys make a mite to go out and find that mite and kill it. This dust - we call it toner - is actually the dead bodies of all those mites." "

  26. Anonymous Coward

    I, for one, look forward to all this IoT infrastructure getting pwned to oblivion. Problem solved. It'll be glorious.

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