Better Things - Establishing A Standard for Better Connected Things

Better Things | Establishing A Standard for Better Connected Things
BFA Student: Noam Zomerfeld
Faculty Advisor: Kristian Simsarian and Haakon Faste

The IoT field is not in its diapers but it’s definitely in its ugly teenager phase. The technology is here and the heart is (mostly) in the right place, but the things we’re seeing out there are definitely a mixed bag. While we want to promote innovation we have the right and the obligation to be critical of things that are unsafe, unethical, dangerous or wasteful.

Part of the problem is that the field we call IoT is gigantic – with anything from connected toothbrushes to self driving cars, connected factories and to smart cities. While they are all widely different, they also have a lot in common once they become connected. One of the main problems is that we don’t have the appropriate vocabulary to talk about meaning & purpose, context and value for these kinds of things. We need a common language and evaluation criteria.

Better Things is a certification system and an non profit evaluating body for connected objects. It rates connected products based on a long list of questions in 9 categories: Technological Opportunities, Meaning & Purpose, Context, Health & Safety, Community & Society, Cost & Access, Sustainability, Interusablity and Privacy. The products receive a public score & a review and the manufacturers of said products receive a detailed report of how the product measured up, and suggestions for improvement. The entire system is open & transparent and is designed to grow and adapt. The idea is that Consumers can use the system to compare, and the makers can use it to build better things.