The internet has made quite a few things easier for everyone, from large enterprises to the common man. It has of course also made complications, both foreseen and unforeseeable. Perhaps the most exciting new development in information technology is the Internet of Things, as most inevitable events on the horizon are exciting to some people and looked upon with dread by others. What is this new development, and why is it feared by some?
The Internet of Things Is a Home Operation.
The Internet of Things, which also labels under IOT for ease, refers to those appliances and such people use every day, that is or could be connected to the internet to both send and receive data. This means appliances could be connected to each other, to a cell phone, even a car. This is an idea that may have seemed unlikely at the very least when the internet was set up over 15 years ago. Telecommunications labels communication over a distance, and it is implied this occurs between two people, but IOT means machines can actually be a communicating to each other to make lives easier.
Who Can Really Benefit From an Internet of Things?
The IOT is actually comprised of three sections, with the labels of: home (or personal), enterprise, and government. Unsurprisingly, the largest of these sectors is the Enterprise Internet of Things, or EIOT. The EIOT is a means that the current 13 billion devices connected to the internet will grow to about 50 billion by 2020, if current calculations stay on course. Within an enterprise, having things interconnected could mean that labels similar to the ones found at Amazon for household products could be applied, and office supplies could be refilled, meetings could be arranged more efficiently, etc.
The Big Fear: Security (And Privacy) May Be Compromised.
The concern experts have with this new future when your cell phone alarm could turn on your coffee maker and perform home temperature controls is how secure these connections could possibly be. Accounts can be hacked remotely. The fear is that someone could hack into a low-security risk item to follow the trail to a high-security mark. For example, who would worry about the security feature on a coffee-maker? It would be controlled by a cell phone app, but it might be possible for a skilled hacker to follow the connection to the cell phone. It sounds unlikely, true, but so did the smart phone 30 years ago.
Your phone talking to your toaster and your car sending a message to work that you are stuck in traffic sounds like something out of a Twilight Zone episode. But it is a reality today, and is expected to grow exponentially very soon. The question we need to ask is, are more connections defensible? Are we sacrificing security and privacy for convenience?