At IFS2015 in London last week, Future Horizons CEO Malcolm Penn revealed OSS and the wide-ranging implications it has for the adoption of IoT.
OSS stands for ‘Odd Sock Syndrome’ or, as the Yanks like to call it ‘Orphan Sock Syndrome’.
The BlackSocks web-site reads: ‘Our best-selling black calf socks are now available in the Plus+ version. The Plus+ is a communication button in the form of an RFID chip. The chip is a unique identifier for every sock. Together, the Sock Sorter we have developed, and our iPhone app mean that nothing can go wrong and your iPhone can communicate with your socks.”
Along with Ebola and IS, one of the major problems facing mankind is that, after several washes, black socks can change colour – some get lighter, some darker -which was the catalyst for the break-through development of the Blackometer.
“We developed the Blackometer for our free iPhone app,’ continues the blurb, ‘the Blackometer uses the camera on your iPhone to measure how black your socks are. In order to take the ambient light conditions into consideration, the first step is to calibrate the camera using a white sheet of paper before measuring the black level.’
BlsckSocks’ technological breakthrough was to integrate RFID, the Blackometer and the Sock Sorter. ‘The interaction between the socks with a communication button, the Sock Sorter and an iPhone app, makes sorting socks child’s play,” says a triumphant BlackSocks.
The only snag for consumers is that BlackSocks smartsocks cost $18.99 a pair and you have to buy a pack of ten for $189.
At IFS 2015, Penn waxed expansive on IoT. “What the hell is it?” he asked “it’s the most undefined thing in the world. We looked at 12 companies who said they’re pursuing IoT and each had a different idea of what it is. If you can’t define what it is, how can you measure it?”
However there’s some sense to it all, said Penn generously, and that comes from EIS.
“Early Invention Syndrome – you try a lot of things and see which one works,” explained Penn, “Sony used to call it ‘The Five Year Wait’ – the time it takes before you eventually get it right.”
The danger of relying on electronic signals to perform routine, unsupervised, but necessary functions is that consumer communications technology is flaky.
“We can’t even make what we have today work properly,” said Penn, “mobile signals are often absent, LANs can be temperamental.”
God forbid that people might ever have to suffer the failure of the link between their iPhone and their socks.