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IoT ruins movies: Die Hard

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Setting the scene

When a gang of organized criminals take over an LA skyscraper in order to steal the valuable bonds locked in its vault, it falls to a lone, off-duty cop (John McClane) to try and stop them.

Any Die Hard fans will probably agree that McClane performs his task admirably, and probably couldn’t have done it better (even with the help of the IoT.) So it falls to me to play devil’s advocate, and lend IoT’s helping hand to the criminals instead. Could the IoT help Hans Gruber and his gang take out John McClane? Let’s see.

The movie: Die Hard

If you haven’t seen Die Hard – first of all, where have you been? Second, all you really need to know is that it’s an action-packed, iconic epic of awesomeness starring Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman as goody and baddy respectively. John McClane (Willis) is an off-duty NYPD cop who finds himself alone on the upper levels of an LA skyscraper, while those below him (including his wife) are taken hostage by Hans Gruber’s (Rickman) posse of charming thugs.

McClane risks life and limb to foil their evil exploits, sporting a spotless undershirt that becomes ever grimier until it disappears altogether, leaving him bare chested and covered in sweat. There’s a lot of gore, shooting and swearing too – basically, all the good stuff.

How the IoT could ruin Die Hard

Gruber’s gang aren’t noted for their joined-up thinking. Communication among the members is pretty poor, and a more integrated approach could have bagged them their man in minutes. Here are some IoT hacks to aid these challenged criminals’ teamwork.

IoT weapon number 1: a connected office

Part of the reason for McClane’s success is that he remains undetected in the building’s upper levels for so long. Unspotted by the gang, he is able to quietly neutralize some of their number before they even know what hit them.

If the Nakatomi corporation’s skyscraper had been a connected building, the story might have turned out differently. Connected (or ‘smart’) buildings leverage data gathered from a network of sensors so that various building systems can be centrally managed and monitored. For example, movement or heat detectors on individual floors measure the number of people using those floors at any given time, so that utilities like light and electricity are diverted away from unused portions of the building to save resources.

Such a system would have detected McClane’s unexpected presence and enabled the gang to corner him early on.

Weapon number 2: connected wearables

Hans Gruber’s criminal cohort don’t do a brilliant job of keeping tabs on one another’s whereabouts and status. They rely on walkie talkies (soon commandeered by McClane) to check in on one another, with the result that several of them could be dead or unresponsive without the rest of the team being any the wiser.

A joined-up system of IoT-enabled wearables could have tracked and shared each member’s location, as well as measuring his heart rate and other vital signs. The data could be centrally aggregated and displayed via a handy dashboard facility to Hans and each team member. Which brings us to…

Weapon number 3: Heads Up Displays

The humble Heads Up Display (HUD) is a great way to keep team members updated with vital information, such as their position within the building, or the whereabouts of their colleagues, without having to check a hand-held device.

Selected metrics (like those data collected from the wearables) could be overlaid on the otherwise transparent display, sharing vital information without obscuring the wearer’s view.

So there you have it – joined up thinking, courtesy of the IoT, and one neutralized cop. We’ll see you soon with another instalment of the IoT ruins movies series. To suggest a film you’d like to see get the ‘ruins movies’ treatment, give us a shout in the comments below.

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