Imagine a world where you can monitor your oven settings after leaving the house, and even shut the appliance off remotely if need be. Perhaps you’ve forgotten to lock your doors and fear intrusion? In this world, with one simple click, you can secure your home even post departure, and control the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and even switch off the lights! That imagined world? It’s ours, right now.
By now you have probably heard of something called the Internet of Things (IoT). Simply put, loT is the technology described above; responsible for connecting all electronic devices in your home, office, or anywhere else directly to the Internet, giving you, the user, remote control over these areas.
Speaking of homes, recently, I was out window shopping for a new home myself. During my tour of a rather expensive house, I noticed a device on the wall labeled NEST. When I inquired about this device, the Realtor explained that it was used to control all of the home’s electronic devices from an app on the owner’s smartphone. An app, controllable from anywhere worldwide, astounded me and I realized, our world is about to become much more connected by way of our surrounding devices. Bigger still, the role these devices will play has yet to be determined.
Attracting the BIG players
This technology is so real that Google, Samsung, and a slew of other brands have joined forces to standardize the IoT. This collaboration of companies is called the Thread Group. According to an article on Business Insider, this group’s goal is to develop “Thread, a new IP-based wireless networking protocol, which will enable devices to connect into a more open, secure, and low-power wireless mesh network”. This technology can be applied across many different industries including healthcare, aviation, entertainment, transportation and home automation. These categories barely scratch the surface of the IoT’s potential application, spanning to any industry where data collection, monitoring, and control could prove beneficial.
Chip manufacturers like Texas Instruments and Intel could see a huge upswing from the adoption of IoT, as well as internet security based companies like Cisco, Barracuda Networks and Checkpoint Software. Moreover, digital marketers and advertising agencies could see an increase in engagement metrics as products become increasingly more interactive. For example, media consumers of home television can, with the click of a button, purchase whatever product captures their interests on screen. The list of this technology’s possible applications is virtually endless.
Protecting Your Home Will Take On a Whole New Meaning
Of course, modern concerns for security and privacy stand to accompany this new technology’s arrival . By the year 2020, a projected 20 billion devices will have seamlessly connected to the IoT. However, connecting more devices to the internet increases the chances of hacking or other digital compromises. Hewlett Packard has a security check system called Fortify on Demand to protect against these concerns. According to a study by HP, “the company’s Fortify application security unit conducted an analysis of the 10 most popular consumer [IoT] devices on the market and found 250 different security vulnerabilities in the products, for an average of 25 faults each. They were from the manufacturers of TVs, webcams, home thermostats, remote power outlets…”… “What’s happening,” says Mike Armistead, VP and general manager of HP’s Fortify unit, “is that manufacturers are rushing to get their products on the market without doing the harder work of locking their devices down against the most basic kinds of attacks”.
With that in mind, ask yourself… are we prepared for the kind of change that an increased number of connected devices will bring? While the application of the IoT continues to take shape, we need to shift our perception and concerns regarding connected devices. What were once thought of as dumb devices may soon become a network of interconnected, living devices, that communicate with each other, making intelligent decisions, dare I say, apart from human interaction and delegation; a possible Skynet of sorts. Ultimately, whether you feel excited about the Internet of Things revolution or skeptical due to looming security concerns, one thing is certain; we no longer have to dream or imagine. This technology is here to stay.
Share your thoughts and comments below to let us know how you feel about The Internet of Things.