Internet of Things (iot) is a big thing right now. But what is it really?
There are a lot of definitions and misconceptions:
The internet of things (IoT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. (en.wikipedia.org)
The internet of things refers to the situation wherein man controlled devices will be outnumbered by embedded systems, internet-wise. (nl.wikipedia.org, translated)
The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication (wired.com)
Sure, it is conceptualized as the internet of things. On the surface it’s presented as communication between man and machine or machine and machine. It’s made to make life easier. Cars that communicate with each other to prevent collision. Watches that give us feedback about our physical activity.
But iot, currently, has downsides. One story that describes this very well is an article on howtogeek.com. It’s about a smart fridge turning into a , well uh, dumb fridge
Even if you think smart fridge features sound great, there’s one big problem: You have no guarantee the fridge will still be getting updates in a few years, or even a year from now.
they could no longer connect to Google Calendar on their fridge. Google announced a new way to connect to Google Calendar, but Samsung never bothered updating the fridge. After two years, that fridge was apparently out of date and “no longer supported”.
Tech is evolving fast. Most People don’t own a blu-ray player or Netflix. In comes 4K television. Oh wait, HDR is hot right now. Have to buy a new TV.
You can’t blame people for expecting things to keep working. My 90’s something cd-player still works. It doesn’t need updating or performing a hard or soft reset. I can safely predict that most people don’t know the difference between a router and a switch. And for all we know, most routers still have the standard fabric login credentials. Oh wait, you can change the password of a router? Do I own a router, someone asks on Facebook.
Big data, now that’s a hot item. Let’s be clear: internet of things is about data, it’s about privacy and last but not least: about security.
Internet of Big data
Let’s revisit the car example. The near collision will be recorded and stored. The department responsible for road safety will pinpoint areas vulnerable for collisions and try to make them safer. We don’t need to address the car example. Google, anyone? Data is big money these days. Custom made commercials because you visited an electronics store is daily reality.
Internet of Privacy
We don’t even bother, it’s not a hot topic anymore. I have a customer card of a grocery store I visit often. To get discount they have to scan the card. But simultaneously they register my other purchases. They send me commercial brochures on a regular basis. No card, no discount. Card, discount, no privacy.
Internet of Security
I come from a time where only the big company sites were victims of hacking. Nowadays every site is vulnerable. Most sites are hacked for spam or data collection purposes. Big data for big money.
Don’t get me wrong: the prospect of iot is exciting for me. We just have to be aware of the consequences before they get real.