IOT = solution in search of a problem.
As someone who has investigated this stuff a fair bit, I agree that the connected appliances that are currently being pushed are uninteresting and, frequently, pointless. However, an INTRANET of Things is a whole different proposition, with sensors connected to a central processing device/server that uses the data to make complex decisions and then controls various other devices to effect the required changes. That, to me, starts to look really interesting as the security issues are reduced by being a much more contained system, the owner has total control over what events lead to what actions, etc.
My own particular research interest is in how (whether?) the IoT can aid learning and teaching in universities, so fairly niche, but one that certainly looks like it might have some promise.
Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley