Killer App Found For IoT

The Killer App for IoT has been found and it’s OSS.

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’.

BlackSocks Inc in the USA sells socks with an RFID IC embedded in them to match them up.

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.



  1. Yes indeed, Silverman, time in the gulag must teach you that if nothing else.

  2. What worries me SEPAM is how easily people are prepared to give up what should be important to them. Social media sites seduced people into surrendering their privacy; ubiquitous connectivity may endanger their safety. So great is the trust in tech that people rush to embrace their fate.

  3. RFID-based roadside bombs?! That’s scary stuff.
    Janusz Bardach remark is still so true… Man Is Wolf to Man.

  4. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

    There is actually a rather serious security risk associated with this and it has been discussed ealier elsewhere. Basically if an RFID tag can say something about who you are of where you are from, you will be vulnerable to roadside bombs with RFID-readers. This came up when the US government wanted RF-tags in the new passports and it was realised that terrorists could trigger bombs selectively on nationality using these tags.

  5. @ Mike Bryant
    > I’m waiting for the automatic bra strap release – that will be worth hacking into.

    I used to know a boy at school who could spot a bra with the hook at the front.
    With a swift double wrist action he could release the flood gates!

  6. I’m not carrying a PC around the streets – I want the app on my Nokia 😉

  7. That’s a really PC IoT app, Mike, I will put it to the WI for evaluation.

  8. OMG, Silverman, you’ve identified a security vulnerability here. The thought of having your iPhone tracking somebody else wearing your socks is curiously distasteful.

  9. If your sock drawer gets stolen is their a way to dosconnect them from your wardrobe management system? Good lord they might end up being worn without a matching belt someplace – and we wouldn’t want the IoT to give a person negative tut-tut! points on their faceplant social page.

  10. I’m waiting for the automatic bra strap release – that will be worth hacking into 🙂

  11. bugger the house elf, Dr Bob

  12. could always give one to your house elf……

  13. And, of course, Dr Bob, the implanted RFID chips will deliver haptic feedback giving the feeling that socks are being worn.

  14. Absolutely, SEPAM, preventing and repairing wardrobe malfunction should be a priority focus for IoT.

  15. The RFID chips will be put in the foot or toes so that they will be uncomfortable to wear.

    That way they will always be in the drawer and hence never be lost or fade

  16. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

    This could take “wardrobe malfunction” to an entirely new level.

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