In 2020, 25 Billion Connected “Things” Will Be in Use – Gartner, Inc.
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The prospective scale of the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to fill anyone looking from the outside with a series of questions starting to rise around shape, ownership and regulation. Imagine trying to build the Internet again. It’s like that, but at a bigger scale. The real value that the IOT creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it; it’s the one that’s going to give us the most disruption as well as the most opportunity over the next few years. And one of the biggest advantages of having smart technologies is the ability to predict and prevent problems from anywhere.
Imagine a house, where the sprinklers take orders from moisture sensors. Coffeepots that talk to alarm clocks. Thermostats that talk to motion sensors.
Your home is your heaven, where you spend a lot of your time. Yet, the tasks involved in keeping it clean and functional can seem overwhelming at times. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a little help with the chores? Isn’t it about time it got to know you better? Welcome to the Future.
Imagine a room where lights, stereo, and the window shade are not just controlled from a central station but adjust to your preferences before you even walk in.
Think of a gym where the machines know your workout as soon as you arrive.
Consider a hybrid car that can maximize energy efficiency by drawing down the battery as it nears a charging station.
What, we’re seeing, is the dawn of an era when the most mundane items in our lives can talk wirelessly among themselves, performing tasks on command, giving us data we’ve never had before. As data gradually becomes the most valuable asset of a slew of once inanimate objects, what does this mean for legacy companies who build the products which have had no previous data strategy?
The power of Big Data:
When everything from jet engines to soft drink vending machines to car seats have sensors in them, we will see an explosion of data the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.
The best part is that, instead of using devices to deliberately measure our activity in the world, perhaps sensors could pick up our activity and measure it as we move through the world and interact with various sensors. In other words, the world around us gains the ability to perceive us, rather than wearable sensors trying to figure out what’s going on in our environment by taking a continuous measure of us.
For all the technology we have today, it’s still hard for us to answer many questions, and it seems sensors will change that.
This is the something I’ve been “dreaming” about since I got to learn about technology. Where my house would know when I’m home, or I’m gone. When I go to sleep, when I wake up and adjust itself accordingly
With technology intersecting just about every area of our lives, here’s a look at a new concept, giving us a peek into what the vision is for the future of cooking in the kitchen. Underneath a marble countertop, an induction cook top with smart sensors and embedded displays. The large surface dynamically detects when pots and pans are placed atop it and heats them accordingly. At your fingertips there’s also a control panel that gives access to online recipes, +Pinterest boards, weather, and your Spotify playlists.
Imagine, if you’re able to activate the dishwasher from your smartphone while you’re at the office! Not only do these items attract attention for their innovative capabilities, they provide a glimpse into the future of appliances. Thanks to a recent onslaught of smart appliances, home life could get quite a bit easier in the near future.
IoT Security challenges and problems
Twenty years ago, it would have been difficult for someone to steal the password of your email account or to take a copy of your fingerprint data from your phone. But today, hackers with malicious intents can even use your smart fridge to break into your Instagram account, forcing you to quickly pull the plug.
Welcome to the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), where digitally connected devices are encroaching on every aspect of our lives, including our homes, offices, cars and even our bodies. With the wide deployment of Wi-Fi networks, IoT is growing at a fast pace, and researchers estimate that by 2020, the number of active wireless connected devices may exceed 40 billion.
The upside is that we are able to do things we never before imagined. But as with every good thing, there’s a downside to IoT: It is becoming an increasingly attractive target for cybercriminals. More connected devices mean more attack vectors and more possibilities for hackers to target us; unless we move fast to address this rising security concern, we’ll soon be facing an inevitable disaster.
IoT opens up new possibilities for Hackers
Some of the more frightening vulnerabilities found on IoT devices have brought IoT security further up the stack of issues that need to be addressed quickly.
Recently, critical vulnerabilities were found in a wide range of IoT baby monitors, that can be leveraged by hackers to carry out a number of nefarious activities, including monitoring live feeds, changing camera settings and authorizing other users to remotely view and control the monitor. In another case, it was proven that Internet-connected cars can be compromised, and hackers can carry out any number of malicious activities, including taking control of the entertainment system, unlocking the doors or even shutting down the car in motion.
Wearables also can become a source of threat to your privacy, as hackers can use the motion sensors embedded in smartwatches to steal information you’re typing, or they can gather health data from smartwatch apps or health tracker devices you might be using.
Some of the most worrisome cases of IoT hacks involve medical devices and can have detrimental — consequences on patients’ health.
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IoT devices are always connected and always on. In contrast to human-controlled devices, they go through a one-time authentication process, which can make them perfect sources of infiltration into company networks. Therefore, more security needs to be implemented on these gateways to improve the overall security of the system.
Security updates on IoT devices. Each consumer will likely soon own scores — if not hundreds — of connected devices. The idea of manually installing updates on so many devices is definitely out of the question, but having them automatically pushed by manufacturers also can be a risky. Proper safeguards must be put in place to prevent updating interfaces from becoming security holes themselves.
Security is one of the biggest barriers preventing mainstream consumer IoT adoption. For manufacturers to boost consumer confidence, they must be able to demonstrate that their products are secure. The problem with security is that it is simply never achieved. Security is a constant battle against the clock, deploying patches and improvements as they come.
As consumer adoption of IoT rises, it is critical for manufacturers to ensure that the security of smart, connected products is at the heart of their IoT strategy. After all, the security of a smart object is only as strong as its weakest connected link. Coupled with security, emergent issues around data privacy, sharing and usage will become something everyone will have to tackle, not just tech companies. In the data-driven world of IoT, the data that gets shared is more personal and intimate than in the current digital economy.
For example, consumers have the ability to trade their bathroom scales protected data such as health and medical information, perhaps for a better health insurance premium. But what happens if a consumer is supposed to lose weight, and ends up gaining it instead? What control can consumers exert over access to their data, and what are the consequences?
Consumers should be empowered with granular data-sharing controls (not all-or-nothing sharing), and should be able to monetize the data they own and generate. Consumers should also have a “contract” with a product manufacturer that adjusts over time — whether actively or automatically — and that spells out the implications of either a rift in data sharing, or in situations where the data itself is unfavorable. The industry needs to embrace this and embark on an open and honest dialogue with users from the very beginning. Informed consent will never be more important, as data and metadata from connected devices is able to build a hyper-personalized picture of individuals.
Brands would be wise to understand that the coming influx of consumer data is a potential revenue stream that must be protected and nurtured. As such, the perception of privacy and respect are tantamount to long-term engagement with customers. So much so that it is likely that product manufacturers will start changing their business models to create data-sharing incentives and perhaps even give their products away for free.
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There is no one sector where the Internet of Things will make the biggest impact; in fact, it will disrupt every industry imaginable, including agriculture, energy, security, disaster management, and healthcare, just to name a few. It’s going to create disruption and opportunity in every imaginable field, and it’s entirely up to you whether you’re going to be one of the disrupted or the disruptors.
We are at a pivotal moment in the development of the IoT. As the diversity of connected things grows, so does the potential risk from not allowing each “thing” to talk to one another.
Left to evolve in an unmanaged way, we’ll end up with separate, disparate approaches that will inexcusably restrict the ability of the IoT to operate as an open ecosystem. The web has already been through this messy process, eventually standardizing itself by Darwinian principles of technology and practices of use.
What is evident is that the IoT will become an important part of our lives very soon, and its security is one of the major issues that must be addressed via active participation by the entire global tech community. Due to its massive potential, the Internet of Things is driven largely by technology companies and academic institutions. However, only through wide-scale education and collaboration outside this group, will it truly hit full stride and make our processes, resources utilization and, ultimately, our lives, better.
Not in Netherlands 😔