In this ever-evolving age of technology and connectivity, the term Internet of Things or IoT is being seen more and more. However, what does it truly mean? And what does it mean now that it’s becoming more viable and widespread throughout the world? This article will try to explain those questions and more in the simplest manner.
What Does It Mean?
To be put bluntly, the Internet of Things is a term used for a system of interconnected devices and appliances. These connections are often used to streamline the application of said appliances as they become more easily manageable through remote control. This connection is then used by the things to communicate with each other, providing said ease of access and control; allowing the possibility of concepts such as Smart Homes.
Internet of things is often what eases the application of automation, monitoring and wireless uses of devices. Something simple such as ordering a printer to print out documents through wireless internet use is an example of a connection that forms an internet of things.
Why the Buzz around IoT?
The internet of things is a term popularized at around 2010 when the things/people ratio exploded from the meager 0.08 of 2003 to 1.84. And that ratio keeps growing bigger ever since with the prediction of it growing up to 4.3 per person by 2020. With more and more devices now connected to the internet, ways to take advantage of this connection expands alongside it. Mainly, to use the nearly limitless information the internet can provide to the advantage of the machines. From a cost-efficient thermostat; automatically setting optimal temperature based on the weather to self-driving cars picking out an optimal route based on traffic information.
With the market forecast showing growth with ludicrous numbers of spending that goes up to $1.494Bn in USD by 2020, it further proves the fondness of the consumers to its benefits. However, something so miraculous often comes at a price. And for this case, the term goes beyond the literal price tag.
Controversy and Fears Surrounding IoT
As much as it is convenient, many experts believe that IoTs are equally dangerous. With fears of invasion of privacy and data leaks; following every step an IoT takes in becoming more advanced. To this end, spending on IoT security is barely a fraction of the actual investments taken unto IoT which only sums up to $3Bn USD by 2021.
And this fear takes form in (at the time this article is written) recent controversial acts against the tech giant Huawei that involves the arrest of its CFO and concerns about the company’s involvement in the development of global 5G technology. While the matter of facts of this controversy and fears are highly debatable, the original reasoning behind them is a very real and very dangerous possible threat. If a company, group or even individual can gain access to an interconnected system that includes even day-to-day appliances, the amount of personal data at their fingertips are unimaginable. And those personal data, while some still underestimate the consequences of its misuse, may threaten more than just financial loss but perhaps even the endangerment of lives. But of course, that is only in the worst case scenarios.
Are IoTs a Safe Investment?
For the most part: yes. Maintained, monitored and cared for properly, an Internet of Things can enable the support necessary for a more efficient use of the things around us. Technology would eventually conform and everything would be at the beck and call of a single push of a button from a remote device that may simply take the form of your smartphone. Some would argue that the benefits brought forth are worth the risks it comes along with.
However, one must never underestimate these risks. As, the tool utilized by an Internet of Things is data collection, said data can still fall in the wrong hands if not guarded properly.