A Brave New World: The Internet of Things

'Internet of Things'- an innovation which as revolutionized our world, but are there any dangers of it?

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Man of the 21st century is absorbed in fancy gadgets. It is an undeniable fact that as time passes, people wish to make their lives more comfortable. So, they start to develop that technology which can help them in the mundane tasks of daily life. And so, we see that technological inventions have already blanketed the whole world. Specifically, the internet has leveraged these technologies to meet the social and economic requirements of today’s society.

Simply put, the Internet is basically a network of computer systems that connects people globally. Let us try to grasp the term “Internet of Things (IoT)” which has recently caught the tech and business worlds by storm. As evident by the name, it is about connecting different ‘things’ to the internet so that they can interact with one another and in the process, learn to improve and optimize themselves without any human-to-human or human-to-computer intervention.

So, what are these ‘things’? They can be anything from sensors, actuators, and machines to even human beings. For example, a smart phone can adjust its brightness by monitoring the light intensity in the surrounding area through a camera. Another example is the Nest Learning Thermostat, a Wi-fi enabled, programmable thermostat developed by Nest Labs. Through its built-in sensors, it learns what temperatures you are most comfortable with and then regulates the surrounding temperature accordingly. Thus, IoT allows endless opportunities for connection.

In short, these devices try to achieve some level of artificial intelligence by monitoring events through different sensors. Forbes predicts that by 2025, over 80 billion devices will be connected to the internet.

The IoT concept has found numerous applications in e-commerce, domestic appliances, healthcare, and vehicles (such as Google self-driving cars). Tech-geeks have installed IoT devices in their homes which track their sleeping patterns, work schedule, and health, and then notify them accordingly. Wearable technologies like the Apple watch in the market enables easy access to phone calls, text messaging and all the default features associated with a phone. Smart devices such as Fitbit have revolutionized fitness routines by chalking out optimized workout schedules that are tailored according to each individual’s needs. All this has increased efficiency and lowered the costs of doing different tasks.

Internet of Things (Source: iStock)

Unfortunately, despite revolutionizing today’s world for the better part, technology has created some new threats. Security and privacy, for example, are two major problems that have arisen as a direct result of technological advancements.

Some people are of the view that the world with IoT based inventions is basically turning into a hacker’s dreamland. With every device connected to each other, it is quite possible that one device, if hacked, can reveal all the data and personal information about a person or an organization. Many dangerous incidents regarding IoT hacking have already taken place. For example, hackers once hijacked a Jeep’s digital system. All it took was the vehicle’s IP address and the hacker could control the in-car temperature and even its steering and braking system! In this regard, effective policies should be adopted all over the globe to prevent such incidents from ever happening again.

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.i-scoop.eu/internet-of-things-guide/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things
  3. http://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-the-internet-of-things-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-iot-right-now/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nest_Learning_Thermostat

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