Re: "What exactly is the Internet-of-Things?"
I agree - the only reason for the I in IoT is so someone can get in the middle and do things that profit them.
I really don't need to do things like set a thermostat while on the road, though it's handy to be able to do it to one on-site building from another one. So...here on the off-grid homestead, I did a LAN of things for those things most don't think about but are needed to be off-grid - solar system control, water system collect and purify, and yes, thermostats in several buildings, weather details around the nature preserve and around the plumbing in the crawl space (do I need to do something so it won't freeze?). Stuff like that makes sense. It'd be pretty hard to hack, as all this stuff is "one off" and at least has security by obscurity - and if you think that's all, come at me, bro.
How long before all these people providing this "free" service hire an MBA and decide they need rent on top of their other monetization (like a lot of other industries..."something as a service"). Or maybe they have already, and it's the GIF thing all over again - get wide adoption and THEN spring the trap.