IoT — Internet of Things

Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

What is it?

How does it work?

The type of connectivity, networking, and communication protocols used are dependent on the specific IoT application that is needed. Typically devices that use IoT should be able to do most of the work without human interference, but sometimes they can be interacted to setup/give instructions. Currently the main methods of connecting devices is via wifi or bluetooth, when connected it can then use it’s built in sensors to give feedback to the user and collect data to send to the IoT platform that the manufacturer is using.

Benefits?

Some current devices using IoT being used in some cities are utility companies, such as those smart meters that some people might have seen around. These smart meters monitor water, gas, and energy consumption, giving cities valuable data that lets them adjust the needs and improvements of their city. There are stats on some of these cities seeing massive improvements, such as residential waste being cut down by over 15%, after deploying out these new devices that use IoT. This shows how powerful important accurate data can be when used properly to improve daily life.

The future potential?

Automation of daily tasks, especially in the health industry, could potentially save an obscene amount of money that could be put into further developing health technology or medicine. Overall, the cons of IoT seem to be impactful as the future is heading to a data reliant era. As technology progresses faster and faster, massive amounts of data will be a big influence on it’s growth. The more data that can be collected, the more accurate the analytics will be on telling how to improve management, quality, time, and several other benefiting factors.

A big impact IoT will have in the future are city applications. Cities can become smart cities, where buildings and utility structures all would have sensors to monitor. These sensors can be used to monitor building health (in the case of weakened building material), manage traffic during peak hours, accidents, or rain, and they can be used to automatically switch street lights on and off depending on the actual brightness that is current out on that day. There are an endless amount of use cases for IoT in a city to create an efficient city that min and maxes their resources.

Drawbacks?

As IoT grows bigger and bigger, the more compatibility issues will come about. Since a multitude of devices are being connected to each other, different manufacturers might have different standards when it comes to how they handle data on a technical level. Even bluetooth devices sometimes have compatibility issues because of a manufacturer’s software. This could potentially lead to a monopoly in the market where users will have to buy certain appliances to fit certain needs because of compatibility between device to device.

Security issues?

As mentioned in the drawbacks, the security of IoT is typically up to the company of the product or device. It is relied on how much time and effort that company will put into protecting their users against security and privacy issues. These companies are the ones that will be tracking, analyzing, and storing massive amounts of product/device and user data. Since IoT has the capability to collect massive amounts of data, including highly sensitive data, it would be in everyone’s best interest to reduce the amount of security and privacy risks that IoT will come with in the future.

Because IoT devices are very closely connected, all it takes is one vulnerability exploit to manipulate all of the data across multiple devices. It would require a lot of maintenance and upkeep to prevent these security risks as all devices would need to be updated constantly against vulnerabilities.

There has been already a big case on IoT where Facebook had been accused of wrongfully collecting data on their users. Definitely there should be some oversight on data collection. However, companies should not be completely blocked out of collecting some data from their users as it is one of the most effective ways of improving their product or service.

Conclusion

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