We are used to paying very little for software and devices used in our homes. We forget the layers of software and data needed for these devices to work at an optimal level.
Buying an echo for under $200 for indulging in any whim you may need or want does not come close to the costs of paying for the data or the cloud services to process and store the information to better serve you. You are still paying and it is with your privacy, which is needed to harvest for advertisers and future growth. The same issue was encountered with email, but we adopted the method of communication with fervor, complaining every step of the way but unwilling to pay for the email that may be encrypted or safer.
So if privacy is important to you, then do not buy these devices. Data harvesting is the only way to pay for the incredible costs of sifting through your data to give you your expectations. There will be vipers and also white knights in this ‘internet of things tide’, so be smart, but realize the world is not out to get you. You brought it into your world and the low entry fee of buying the machine is only the tip of the iceberg for the costs of this device’s cloud software and storage.
For the tech savvy, play around with this BlueMix pricing to get an idea of how much it would cost for a simple application. For it to scale into a profitable venture, this must be evaluated.