The Internet of Things (IoT) is also known as the Internet of Everything (IoE) which comprises of web-supported devices as they accumulate, send and deal with data acquired from the immediate surroundings with the help of communication hardware, processors and sensors. Such devices are usually known as ‘smart’ or ‘connected’ devices, are capable of communicating with allied devices, and are referred to as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication. These gadgets are configured by human interactions but they accomplish majority of their tasks by themselves without any external intervention. Such devices have been discovered because of the small mobile mechanisms, which are found these days and can be used practically in modern businesses and homes, which are always in online mode. Kevin Ashton is Auto-ID Center’s co-founder at MIT who referred IoT in his presentation given to Procter & Gamble (P&G) in the year 1999. Aston aimed at bringing Radio Frequency ID (RFID) in the eye of senior managers at P&G. This is why the presentation was named so as it embraced the new technology of 1999 known as the Internet.
How IoT Works
An IoT network comprises of smart devices enabled with web services and make use of embedded communication hardware, sensors and processors, sending as well as acting on data acquired by them from their surroundings. These devices accumulate data and share them by connecting to the IoT gateway, which either sends the data to the cloud for analysis or analyzes it locally. Such devices might also communicate with and work on the data accumulated from allied devices. They perform without any external intervention by humans even though individuals can communicate with them for setting them up, give them required instructions, or have access to the data.
The key benefit of using this technology is that it permits usage of real-time information, which was not accessible earlier. Individuals can monitor their families and home remotely to stay safe. Various business processes can be improved to boost productivity and minimize waste and downtime. City installed sensors help in minimizing road traffic and send warning signals when an infrastructure is about to crumble. Gadgets installed in the open help in monitoring changes in the environment and send warning signals about unforeseen disasters.
IoT Security and Privacy Issues
IoT connects multiple devices with the Internet and utilizes multiple data points that have to be secured. IoT privacy and security are the key concerns because of the attack surfaces. IoT devices are known to be close knit that makes them vulnerable to attacks by hackers, as they just have to misuse a single vulnerability for manipulating all the data. Interlinked devices require the users to enter personal data, which is important for the hackers. Nevertheless, apart from hackers, privacy is also a key concern for the users of IoT. For example, companies manufacturing and distributing IoT devices can make use of such devices for acquiring and selling personal information of the users.
Where does the Internet of Things go Next?
The price of communications and sensors are dropping which is why it becomes a cost-effective idea to add multiple devices with IoT in spite of its limited benefits to the end users. There has been a significant increase in the variety of connected devices people use in their working and living environments which is filling their lives with smart devices accepting the privacy and security trade-offs with open arms. Every individual has a different viewpoint towards this change; some are ready to embrace this age of smart devices whereas others crave for the days when a chair simply looked like a chair.