Internet Of Things (IoT) — security, privacy, applications & trends

If you want to understand Internet of Things (IoT), let’s have a look at the term “thing.” Any physical device can be a “thing” (in terms of IoT). For example, it could be smartphones, washing machines, televisions, wearable devices, lamps, headphones, vehicles, buildings and anything possible that can be thought of. In the near future, it’ll be true that “anything that can be connected will be connected.”

Once we know what a “thing” is, let’s examine the “Internet” part.

The things are embedded with software, sensors and other electronic components that help them send and receive data. The inter-connectivity of these devices to the Internet and each other makes IoT a giant network of connected “things.” People are part of the network too. There are three kinds of relationships in an IoT network: things-things, people-things and people-people.

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Now imagine a situation where we learn how the “things” are connected. Say you are returning from your office and wish that your air conditioner could be switched on before you reach home.What will you do? I know you will call your flatmate, mom or anyone who is present in your home to switch it on.

Now, let’s think about the situation in terms of IoT. You will have a control station in your home, like a tablet or smartphone, to which you will send a message to switch on the air conditioner, and the smart device will communicate with the air conditioner and switch it on for you. This is the change that will be brought about by IoT. The connection between everything is IoT, sometimes referred to as Internet of Everything (IoE).

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IoT security and privacy concerns

Although IoT is rapidly growing, it still faces security and privacy issues:

Security Risks

  • IoT devices are connected to your desktop or laptop. Lack of security increases the risk of your personal information leaking while the data is collected and transmitted to the IoT device.
  • IoT devices are connected with a consumer network. This network is also connected with other systems. So if the IoT device contains any security vulnerabilities, it can be harmful to the consumer’s network. This vulnerability can attack other systems and damage them.
  • Sometimes unauthorized people might exploit the security vulnerabilities to create risks to physical safety.

Privacy Risks

  • In IoT, devices are interconnected with various hardware and software, so there are obvious chances of sensitive information leaking through unauthorized manipulation.
  • All the devices are transmitting the user’s personal information such as name, address, date of birth, health card information, credit card detail and much more without encryption.

Though there are security and privacy concerns with IoT, it adds values to our lives by allowing us to manage our daily routine tasks remotely and automatically, and more importantly, it is a game-changer for industries.

IoT applications across industries

Various companies now help businesses use IoT to solve long-standing, industry-specific challenges. They develop IoT solutions that connect things, collect data and derive insights with open and scalable solutions that reduce costs, improve productivity and increase revenue. Let’s see the industry categories, that are using IoT solutions in the figure below:

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Trends in IoT

If we adopt IoT, it will improve digitization of our society and economy by connecting objects, people with each other via a connected or communication medium. If we consider about device-to-device interaction, IoT helps people to manage their daily lives with more control with efficient monitoring. Let’s see the trends in IoT app development areas.

  • Wearable gadgets: Wearable devices have been a hot topic across the tech world since the release of smartwatches and smartglasses. Today there are many wearable gadgets on the market, from fitness trackers to GPS shoes.
  • Connected Car: This is a quite new concept and expected to come into the limelight slowly. Generally, app development for the automotive industry takes two to four years. Everyone from large-scale automobile companies to small-scale start-ups is working on connected car solutions. If BMW and Ford do not announce Internet-connected car solutions soon, the tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are set to develop and release the next generation of connected car solutions.
  • Smart Home: IoT provides us a space where we find comfort and can manage our routine tasks easily in our daily busy life. There are various popular devices for the smart home; include smart thermostat, connected lights, smart fridge, smart television, smart door lock etc.
  • Smart City: Smart city helps people to avoid the issues of traffic management, social security, environment monitoring , waste management, water distribution etc. Improved IoT apps will help resolve various issues related to traffic, noise pollution, air pollution, etc., and make cities safer.
  • Smart Grid: It is a vital niche of IoT. It provides information about consumers and electricity providers in an automated way. It always helps improve the efficiency, economics and electricity steadiness.

Along with these trends, the IoT market is booming with other emerging trends such as smart retail, industrial Internet, connected health, smart supply chain, smart farming, smart energy and so on. Even Artificial intelligence (AI) has the capacity to enhance IoT with the help of the cloud platform.

IoT is also the chief enabler of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), systems that translate business processes into software-driven, rule-based decision trees. RPA provides cost savings and scalability advantages for businesses and shorter transaction times for customers.

The rapid evolution of communication technologies, particularly in the area of IoT, involves also possible challenges far beyond the technological aspects, such as data protection and privacy are the upcoming challenges. Thus, the development of IoT offers the whole world an extended amount of opportunities.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on IoT and its future. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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