The Internet of Things (IoT)
In the broadest sense, the term IoT encompasses everything connected to the internet, but it is increasingly being used to define objects that “talk” to each other. By combining these connected devices with automated systems, it is possible to “gather information, analyse it and create an action” to help someone with a particular task, or learn from a process. In reality, this ranges from smart mirrors to beacons in shops and much more…
IoT allows devices on closed private internet connections to communicate with others and brings those networks together. It gives the opportunity for devices to communicate not only in a close range, but across different networking types and that creates a much more connected world.
Here is a concrete example
A good example is self-driving cars by Tesla Motors. In this case, the cars are considered the “things” and they use the power of AI and machine learning to predict the behaviour of cars and pedestrians in different circumstances. Furthermore, as Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk says in 2015, all Tesla cars operate as a network and when one car learns something, they all learn it.
As you can imagine, the notion of IoT is not very young, before Internet, it was more with radio, but the idea of connecting objects between each other is old. To stay in the domain of cars, in 1956, a version of GM Firebird II was built for detector circuits embedded on highways. That was one of the first connected cars. Since, Chrysler, Google, Tesla launched their own models of cars, but the main idea still the same: connect objects between each other.
But aren’t there privacy implications?
Everything that’s connected to the internet can be hacked, IoT products are no exception to this unwritten rule. Insecure IoT systems led to toy manufacturer VTech losing videos and pictures of children using its connected devices.
There’s also the issue of surveillance. If every product becomes connected then there’s the potential for unbridled observation of users.
And this is not fiction!
In the future, intelligence services might use the Internet of Things for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials
IoT offers some pretty interesting applications in making our lives easier like in healthcare, transportation, and agriculture. However, various factors like security, privacy and data storage also need to be considered.
In the end, before thinking of joining the IoT bandwagon, we should ask ourselves, “Does this thing need to be connected?” If yes, “How connected?”
(conclusion from Adeolu Owokade, on RouterFreak)