King Ludd #19: Manifesto for a FriendlyHome

Freedom from the Internet-of-Things

King Ludd's Cabin King Ludd's Cabin

Due to a growing concern with the way the Internet-of-Things ecosystem is selling a vision of anything and everything phoning home to different marketing departments using embedded cellular modems, King Ludd presents a positive alternative.

This is a SmartFriendlyHome:


Maybe it’s not the smartest, but it’s yours, and it’s friendly to you. It’s not secretly telling its friends what you’ve been up to just in order to push you more stuff, but it is helping you do what you want to do as best it can.

  1. FriendlyDevices are the only devices in FriendlyHomes. Friendliness is exponentially proportional to the number of FriendlyDevices, but it takes just one CreepyDevice to make it a CreepyHome.
  2. FriendlyDevices are respectful. They know talking too much is annoying, that accuracy is important, and that deliberately trying to break things is definitely UnFriendly.
  3. FriendlyDevices are patient and resilient. They know everyone has a bad day, and lots can go wrong, but they do their best to soldier on regardless of what’s going on around them.
  4. FriendlyDevices are great communicators. They speak a common language, openly and clearly. They do not conceal what they say. You can read all messages between, by, or for FriendlyDevices, and you can selectively filter messages coming in or out of the FriendlyHome.
  5. FriendlyDevices are all about authenticity. Messages can be signed to show that they came from a specific FriendlyDevice. All necessary information is available to you to verify messages are what they claim to be, and that they contain no hidden information.
  6. FriendlyDevices dig diversity. FriendlyDevices from different manufacturers work as well together as FriendlyDevices from one manufacturer.
  7. FriendlyDevices get old gracefully. Years go by before FriendlyDevices require software or hardware updates. Updates do not break working systems.
  8. FriendlyDevices learn quickly from each other. A FriendlyDevice finds out how to securely connect to the FriendlyHome network by bumping into another device that tells it what it needs.
  9. FriendlyDevices appreciate the value of independence. All features of FriendlyDevices work without connecting beyond the FriendlyHome. Any external connections go through a gateway you control. FriendlyDevices assume nothing about external connectivity, and are quite happy without it.
  10. FriendlyDevices only take orders from you. Any remote control system is chosen by you independently of the FriendlyDevices it is to control. You have the last word on anything a FriendlyDevice does in your FriendlyHome.


Nigel Birkenshaw runs Atomirex and Umbrella