This is the new buzz that’s been spreading around the town; the Internet of Things is here. Some people are hailing it as the next step in the great Information Technology Revolution, although the verdict is not really clear on that front, it is almost certain that it is going to have a tremendous impact on how the way things operate in our day-to-day lives. With the advent of so many of these interconnected devices there are enormous boons to be reaped from the oncoming storm but of course it could have a terrible aftermath if it isn’t handled with prudence.
Let’s go straight to the definition of what the Internet of Things actually is – it is an interconnected network consisting of devices or objects that are embedded with the technology to store, process and transfer information to anyone and to each other. The transferred information could be accessed by any single person and it could come from your own fridge. Baffling isn’t it? Your fridge will have the capacity to check whether you have the right stuff, and give you a message if you’re running short of some things.
Oh, and that isn’t the least of the applications of this piece of technology. Your entire day will be scheduled by your devices when you wake up. There will be a device that would’ve sensed you wake up, and this would’ve send signals to your coffee brewer to whip you up with a cup. Then after this the motion detectors would have send signals into your bathroom to get the hot showers ready. Imagine this being extended even further with your car, it knows when you’ve started the engine and how the Traffic is like. It would’ve relayed information to the office that you’re going to be late and subsequently arranged an alternate route to get there faster.
To stretch the imagination even further, envision a reality where the city very streets are automated. Outside the interconnectedness of your smart home, there will be streetlamps knowing when an area needs to be lightened; the traffic lights sending signals to each other and the operators to co-ordinate the flux of vehicles, automated factories, pipelines, the very buildings themselves having ears to their eyes (camera). We are talking about a completely integrated city interwoven and talking to each constituent parts to make the experience more easy and effortless and not to mention efficient.
Garter Inc, has predicted that by the end of this year about 5 billion devices will be integrated with the Integrated with the Internet of Things and this count could be raised even further to 25 billion once it reaches the year reaches 2020. This phenomenal growth has attracted the keen eyes of the software giants such as Microsoft, who has unveiled a new version of Windows 10 that is compatible with the Rasberry Pi2 boards and Anduinos, which is used to design software for the devices outfitted with the Internet of Things, thus having better foresight to grab a share in this new fledgling market than they did last time by coming in too late in the game to have a fair share of the smartphone market.
Despite all these boons to be had with the advent of this technology in the mainstream there are very exasperating banes that are sure to follow up once it has garnered wide usage. The technology is under scrutiny for being prey to hackers who can access the main software and essentially get away all your personal information due to the nature of the Internet of Things being interconnected to other things. So if the hackers accessing your toaster would theoretically enable them to access your every sensitive information about your home, your destination, you’re routine and the frightening list just goes on.
Several security firms have been sounding the alarm as to the dire consequences of the Internet of Things unprecedented ability of interconnectedness. They postulate that this could inadvertently usher in the greatest era of hacking, and that the bane outweighs the benefits that can be reaped. The sheer scale of the Internet of Things causes angst in the minds of the network administrators. There are different uses, vendors, generations and capabilities and these make security very difficult. Like today we have spyware and malware, tomorrow we will have “spythings” and “malthings”.
The Internet of Things will make the whole physical world into one big information system, and it allows every single one of the individual physical units to be always connected to other physical devices and thus be perpetually talking to each other. This “Ambient” Intelligence is perhaps a logical consequence of the advance of technology, and or it may be a step in the wrong direction, but as of yet we don’t know for sure until it has deployed in the field. Optimism and Pessimism will keep the concept alive for the years to come and by the turn of the next decade we will soon find a revolutionary application to this tech and nothing will ever remain the same.