The more we rely on intelligent devices in our lives, the more they need to be easily managed. It just doesn't scale for us to look at the LCD panel of dozens of devices in our homes just to see if they are all still working properly. Who has time to do that once a week let alone once a day? And if my thermostat decides that the furnace isn't doing what its been told, I'd like to know before the aquarium freezes solid. The devices we rely on need to be manageable - and connected.
Enterprise and carrier networking products are devices we rely on that have been doing remote software management, diagnostics and control for decades. They call it OA&M for Operations, Administration and Maintenance. My PVR already has some remote OA&M capabilities and I know it is occasionally upgraded by someone who is definitely not in my house - I like that.
I think connectivity is an important part of the equation but I don't want to just enable a whole pile of low-value emails that are directed at me from devices. I don't want to know about every little event that happens to all the devices I care about. I'd like some sort of filter between them and me. If the phone line goes dead I'd rather just be notified of that than have every device connected to the phone line tell me the phone line is dead. To solve that one you need some overseeing entity looking for event patterns and aggregating them into related bundles of events. This could be done with standardization on event notifications and classifications and an expert system helping along the way.
Even when events are important sometimes its better to get recent events than major events that are old. When the nuclear generator at Three Mile island had an event, the printer outputting the alarms was backlogged by 2.5 hours. The system was working as designed but the humans reading the alarms probably wanted the most recent data. Alarm bundles may have helped there.
My friend's brother's wife's sister's husband is a radiologist in Ontario, Canada. Their cat scan machines are centrally monitored so if the machine has a problem they can remotely diagnose the problem to make sure it is not a dangerous issue. The monitoring is triple-redundant around the world. That's pretty cool.
More connected devices drives a need for better device management software. That same device management software could be programmable to react to events (or bundles of events or alarms) in some user customizable way. For example, if my sump pump starts running at a weird time of year maybe the water pump should just be shut off (could be a leak in a pipe somewhere in my house). But someone else might want their house to do something else in that case - maybe its a normal event in their house.
Anyone have any interesting ideas for features that could be achieve by simply connecting remotely manageable devices together via some custom programming?